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New Tools for Labor Market Analysis:JOLTS

Kelly A. Clark and Rosemary Hyson


Analysis of the U.S. labor market is a difficult and challenging effort. A number of existing economic indicators, including the unemployment rate, payroll employment, and others, serve as useful measures of labor market activity, general economic conditions, and labor supply. However, to facilitate a more comprehensive analysis of the U.S. labor market and to show how changes in labor supply and demand affect the overall economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will introduce a new data series measuring labor demand and turnover: the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The availability of unfilled jobs-the number of job openings or the openings rate-is an important measure of the tightness of labor markets. JOLTS calculates the number of job openings from a nationwide sample of establishments and computes a job openings, or vacancy, rate. This new survey also collects data on separations by type and hires, providing a single source for these data that will enhance empirical analyses of the economy and the labor market. This article briefly describes the survey and then discusses how JOLTS data will help enrich analysis of the U.S. labor market and the economy as a whole.