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Job openings up slightly in May

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(Read caption) This chart shows private non-farm job openings from mid-2004 through May 2011. The latest data show that openings increased less than 1 percent since April 2011 but almost 10 percent from a year before.

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Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their latest monthly read of job availability and labor turnover (JOLT) showing that private non-farm job “openings” increased slightly rising 0.83% since April and climbing 9.66% above the level seen in May 2010 while private non-farm job “hires” increased 1.71% from April and 5.09% above the level seen in May 2010.

Job “layoffs and discharges” jumped a whopping 13.21% from April increasing 0.18% above the level seen last year while quitting activity increased 6.60% from April and 4.39% above the level seen in May 2010.

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It’s important to understand that job “quits” are included as a component of the “separations” data series as “quitting” is a valid means of workers “separating” from employers but their inclusion tends to create an overall procyclical trend in what would otherwise be logically thought of as a countercyclical process (i.e. downturn leads to increase in separations not decrease).

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