Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released January 2016 figures from its Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which tracks job openings, hires, and separations (quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations including retirement).

The seasonally adjusted ratio of unemployed persons per job opening – an indication of labor market activity and competitiveness – fell to 1.3 candidates per job opening in the Midwest in January. This is down from a ratio of 2.5 a year ago and maintains the lowest January ratio in more than a decade. The U.S. ratio decreased slightly to 1.4 in January.


Midwest hiring improved by 7 percent year-over-year, reaching 1.24 million new hires in January 2016. Nationally, hiring activity fell by -0.5 percent in the same time period.


The quit rate, which reflects the share of employees who left voluntarily (except retirements or transfers), is highly correlated with wage growth. Employees tend to quit and switch jobs at a higher rate during periods of economic growth. The Midwest’s quit rate held steady at 2.0, up slightly from 1.9 a year ago, one of the highest January rates in more than a decade.

Note: At the beginning of each calendar year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program revises up to five years of previous data to incorporate new inputs and population data. The data in this brief reflects the LAUS revisions completed on March 17, 2016. Revisions for 2011-2014 data will be completed on April 12, 2016. For more information about these annual revisions, please visit the BLS website. For the full JOLTS press release and data, please visit the BLS website.

Chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago is the public-private partnership leading the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs in order to drive business development, cultivate talent, and put Chicago at the forefront of the global economy.

WBC’s “Economic Briefs” track indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s economy, including unemployment, population, venture capital, job openings and new hires, home sales, tourism, etc. This data provides a clear analytic framework for specific Plan strategies and initiatives. For a summary of these and other economic indicators, refer to WBC’s monthly Chicago By The Numbers.

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