Frequently Asked Questions
What is JOLTS?
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) produces monthly estimates of job openings, hires, quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. JOLTS data help measure the demand for labor (employers' need for employees) and track the health of the economy.
What is the reference period for each count?
- Employment: the pay period that includes the 12th of the month
- Job Openings: the last business day of the month
- Hires: the entire calendar month
- Quits, Layoffs and Discharges, and Other Separations: the entire calendar month
Why are there different reference periods for the counts?
The reference period for employment is the government standard for collecting employment information from businesses. Job openings is a measure of the "stock" of vacancies. The one-day reference for job openings gives a snapshot of the need for employees in different parts of the economy and allows the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to monitor change over time. Hires and separations are a measure of flows of people into and out of the job market over an entire month. Research has found that respondents' record keeping most often correspond to or can accommodate these reference periods.
What is the pay period that includes the 12th of the month?
The pay period that includes the 12th of the month is the time unit (for example, week or month) that you use to pay your employees that includes the 12th of the month. The length of the pay period does not matter, so long as the 12th of the month is included in the pay period.
My establishment's pay period begins on Monday and ends on Friday. What if the 12th of the month falls on a weekend?
If the 12th of the month falls on a Saturday, count it as the last day of the pay period, and if the 12th of the month falls on a Sunday, count it as the first day of the pay period.
An employee did not work during October. However, he received his paycheck during the week that included October 12th for work performed in September. Should this employee be counted in total employment for October?
No, what matters is whether the employee worked or was on paid leave during the pay period that included the 12th of the month. It does not matter when paychecks are issued.
What if I pay my employees in different payroll cycles?
If your establishment has more than one payroll cycle (for example, weekly and semi-monthly), add the total employment for each payroll's pay period that includes the 12th of the month.
When is the last business day of the month?
The last business day of the month is the last day of the month on which an establishment is "open." It may or may not be the same as the last day of the calendar month. Determination of the last business day of the month is independent of the payroll cycle—for example, the last business day does not fall in the following calendar month, even if the pay period goes into the next month.
I have jobs that are always open. Should I report them?
If you are actively recruiting to fill these positions, and if the work can begin within 30 days, you should report these openings.
We're recruiting now to fill a position that will begin in three months. Do I report the position as a job opening?
No, report only those job openings for work that could start within 30 days.
We're actively recruiting to fill a position, but we don't think we'll find the right candidate within 30 days. Should I report the job opening?
Yes, because work could start within 30 days if you find a suitable candidate.
A candidate accepted our offer of employment on the 20th but won't start until next month. Do I report this position as a job opening? What about a hire?
Once the offer is accepted, the position is no longer counted as a job opening. However, it is not a hire until the employee actually reports for work.
Temp Help Agencies, PEOs, and Education Establishments
What is a Professional Employer Organization?
A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is a business that supplies management and administrative services with regard to human resource responsibilities for employers. It serves as the co-employer of the client's employees for payroll, benefits, and related purposes.
My employees are leased from a Professional Employer Organization, which recruits the employees and handles the hires and separations. Should I report these workers?
No, do not count these employees in employment, job openings, hires, or separations since they are co-employed by a Professional Employer Organization.
My establishment is a Professional Employer Organization. Do I report data for employees staffed at all client sites?
No, you should provide data for employment, job openings, hires, and separations only for the client indicated in Section 1 on the JOLTS data reporting form (PDF 23K). However, if your headquarters is shown in Section 1 on the form, you should report data only for employees working at the headquarters.
My firm is a Temporary Help Agency. Do I report data for employees staffed at client sites?
For total employment, include all employees at the site or headquarters indicated in Section 1 on the JOLTS data reporting form. Also include all employees placed from this office at all client sites if they worked during or received pay for the pay period that included the 12th of the month. Count each employee only once, even if an employee has more than one assignment during the pay period. Report job openings based on the number of people you need to hire in addition to the current employee list. When a current employee receives another assignment, do not report the employee as a hire. When an employee ends an assignment, do not report the employee as a separation, unless that particular employee is being terminated or formally separated from your agency.
I'm reporting for a school where teachers are paid on a 10-month schedule. How do I report data for months when school is not in session (that is, July and August)?
During periods when school is out, include all faculty members who are still under contract in the total employment count, regardless of the type of pay schedule. Report job openings, hires, and separations as instructed on the JOLTS data reporting form.
An employee transferred from one department to another at this location. Should I count the employee as a hire?
No, internal transfers, promotions, and demotions are not hires or separations.
A person worked here for only one day. Should I count that person?
Yes, count the employee as a hire and as the appropriate type of separation. Also, if the person worked during the pay period that included the 12th of the month, count the person in the employment total.
When employees do not show up for work and do not call in to officially quit, how do I classify them?
Usually employees who just stop coming to work are quits. However, if your policy is to call these employees discharges instead of quits, you should report them as layoffs &discharges.
We hire the same seasonal workers every year. Do I have to report them as hired and separated each year?
Yes, include seasonal employees as hires and then as layoffs & discharges each time, even if you use the same workers every year.
If my establishment reports data to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for other surveys, am I required to report separate data for JOLTS?
JOLTS asks questions that are different from those asked in other government surveys, so we ask you to report data separately. We ask for a limited amount of data, and although participation is voluntary, we encourage you to participate.
Last Modified Date: July 30, 2002