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Ensuring Data Quality in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey

Charlotte Mueller and Matthew Balazik


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is producing a new survey collecting job openings and labor turnover data. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) collects data and produces estimates for job openings, hires, and separations. This survey is expected to provide valuable statistics to help evaluate the U.S. economy. The JOLTS data will help develop a complete picture of the economy when used in conjunction with the monthly employment level and the unemployment rate. In an effort to improve data quality and the resulting estimates, BLS has been editing and reviewing data starting with March 2000, the survey's first month of collected data. As with any new program, JOLTS has had to start from scratch to determine data edits and microdata review and how to handle all the output from these procedures. The edits and parameters were determined based on the nature of the JOLTS data, procedures of other surveys, and those of a JOLTS pilot study. Methodology for outlier detection and management was selected and implemented. Microdata review is conducted each month to identify problem records and correct data errors before final estimates are run.