The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released March 2015 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 – held steady at 1.4 candidates per job opening in the Midwest in March. This is down notably from a ratio of 2.5 a year ago and marks the second lowest ratio in more than a decade. The U.S. ratio also remained at 1.7 in February. Midwest hiring activity expanded 16 percent year-over-year – more than twice the nation’s growth over the same time period – to reach 1.22 million new hires in March 2015.

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 during periods of economic growth. The Midwest’s 2.0 quit rate was the highest March value since 2008 and a positive indication of wage recovery.


This data reflects the most recent BLS revisions. The full press release and data can be found on the BLS website.

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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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