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Oct 11 -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is soliciting comments to OMB by November 10, 2022 concerning a request to continue the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) collects data on job vacancies, labor hires, and labor separations.  The data can be used as demand-side indicators of labor shortages.  These indicators of labor shortages at the national level will greatly enhance policy makers' understanding of imbalances between the demand for and supply of labor. Presently there is no other economic indicator of the demand for labor with which to assess the presence of labor shortages in the U.S. labor market.  The availability of unfilled jobs - the number of job vacancies or the vacancy rate - is an important measure of tightness of job markets, parallel to existing measures of unemployment.

JOLTS statistics reveal structural labor market conditions, such as the effectiveness of job matching and training processes, the implications of unemployment insurance and welfare, and deficient demand for labor.  

JOLTS statistics can be used as a potential indicator of business cycles.  In addition, JOLTS statistics allow businesses to compare their turnover rates to national rates.

The information is collected once a month at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Atlanta Data Collection Center (DCC), Atlanta, Georgia. Data is collected from the private sector, State and local governments, and the Federal Government. It is collected using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI), web reporting, email, and fax. For the next survey round, an establishment will be in the sample for 36 months.

Upon receiving the selected sample, the sample units are distributed among the Atlanta DCC interviewers. The interviewer then conducts address refinement. Address refinement requires interviewers to confirm correct contact information for an establishment. Once this has been done, the enrollment package is printed and mailed to the respondent. During the first six months of collection, the interviewer calls the respondent and conducts the interview over the phone using CATI. The first month includes clarification on the reporting unit.  During the sixth month interview, the interviewer prepares the respondent for rollover to web, email, or fax. Each respondent is encouraged to report all remaining months of data using web reporting.

There are 6 data elements collected by the form. Those elements are Total Employment, Total Number of Job Openings, Total Hires, Quits, Layoffs and Discharges, and Other Separations. Quits, Layoffs and Discharges, and Other Separations comprise Total Separations.

The reference period for Total Employment is the pay period including the 12th of the month. The reference period for Job Openings is the last business day of the month.  Hires and Separations are requested for the entire month.

The information is published monthly at the NAICS Supersector level for the U.S. and at the total non-agriculture level for the major Census regions. The data are made public via press releases and the BLS website. The data are used by BLS economists in their efforts to interpret and report labor market developments.  Businesses use the data to compare their own turnover rates to a national figure. JOLTS data are useful to academics studying labor economics.  Policy analysts can use the data to track the business cycle.

The JOLTS sampling frame is stratified by geographic Region, Industry Supersector, and Employment Size Class. A stratified sample is allocated using the Neyman allocation (Cochran, 1977, pp. 259-261) methodology. This stratification and allocation methodology ensures that small businesses are sampled at a lower rate (i.e., lower probability of selection) than large businesses; this reduces the respondent burden on small establishments relative to large establishments.  

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey measures the job openings, hires, total separations, quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations for each month at the national level from a sample of about 20,700 establishments (worksites). The universe for this survey is the Quarterly Contribution Reports (QCR) filed by employers subject to State Unemployment Insurance (UI) laws. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) receives these QCR for the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The QCEW data, which are compiled for each calendar quarter, provide a comprehensive business name and address file with employment, wage, detailed geography (i.e., county), and industry information at the six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) level.  This information is provided for over 8.5 million business establishments of which about 8.1 million are in the scope of this survey. Similar data for Federal Government employees covered by the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees program (UCFE) are also included. The final data is stored in a Longitudinal Data Base (LDB), which is then used as a sample frame for sample selection. Another data source used for sampling is the universe of railroad establishments obtained from the Federal Railroad Administration.

The JOLTS sample has about 20,700 establishments allocated based on the stratification of four census regions, 20 two-digit industry codes, and six employment size classes, including certainty establishments which have a certain level of employment, or the number of establishments in the universe for a sampling cell is less than or equal to 24. These certainty establishments are assigned a sampling weight of 1.00 and other establishments are assigned the sampling weight of the strata population count divided by the strata sample count.  

In addition to the annual sample, BLS added about 250 establishments in each of the three remaining quarters to represent newly formed businesses. The total sample size, therefore, is about 21,200 establishments. However, with a new sample selection every 1st quarter, the sample size is reduced to about 20,700 after discarding the out of business units not on the current frame.    
JOLTS webpage: https://www.bls.gov/jlt/
JOLTS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202203-1220-001 Click IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for newly added technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-21990

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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