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A Comparison of Job Openings Surveys: Concepts and Survey Design

Kelly A. Clark and Mary Anne Phillips


Responding to the need for statistics that measure the demand for labor as a complement to measures of labor supply such as the unemployment rate, surveys in both the United States and Europe have been developed recently to measure the number of job openings. In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has developed an establishment survey designed to produce new, nationally representative data on labor demand by measuring both the number and rate of job openings in the United States. This paper begins by briefly describing the new Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and its development based on lessons learned from previous BLS surveys and pilot studies. Simultaneously, the European Union is currently embarking on an effort to measure job openings in member countries. This paper also describes that recent effort and how it builds on the experience of several individual countries that already collect job openings data. The overall comparison focuses on definitions, reference periods, and sample design.