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Hiring Down 4.3% in March

Hiring fell 4.3 percent in March, the same month in which payroll job growth plunged, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Tuesday in its monthly ""Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)"":http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/jolts_05072013.pdf.

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Job growth in March was initially reported at 88,000--the weakest in nine months--but later revised up to 138,000. While hirings dropped in March, separations increased 0.8 percent.

According to the JOLTS report, the number of persons unemployed for each job opening fell to 3.05, the lowest level since October 2008, from 3.09 in February.

The JOLTS report details the ins and out of the labor market. According to the report, the number of layoffs and discharges in March rose 7.7 percent to 1,693,000, the highest level since September, from 1,572,000 in February.

At the same time, the number of ""quits,"" generally a sign of confidence in the ability to get another job, fell in March to 2,160,000, a drop of 5.5 percent from February.

Still, the report showed a continual improvement in the labor market, with 51.8 million hires in the last 12 months, up from 50.6 million in the previous 12 months.

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The number of job openings at the end of March slipped to 3.84 million from 3.9 million in February. Job openings fell month-over-month in most major industry sectors, led by a drop of 37,000 in professional and business services. There were 2.0 jobseekers for every opening in that sector in March, up from 1.7 in February.

Data from the report indicated there were 11.2 unemployed construction workers for every available job in March, up from 9.0 in February. By industry, the number of unemployed persons per job opening also increased in the manufacturing and information sectors. The number of unemployed persons per job opening declined in financial activities, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality. The drop in job openings in manufacturing is a consequence of the federal budget sequester, which caused a cutback in defense spending.

The ""JOLTS"" report tracks flows within the labor sector, noting hirings and separations by month as well as the number of job openings at the end of a month. It is reported by BLS on a one month lag. In addition to totals, data are reported on major industry sectors.

The number of unemployed persons per job opening has been declining steadily since peaking at 6.7 in July 2009, when the recession ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├àÔÇ£officially├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├é┬Ø ended. The calculation is a function of the number of people unemployed, which fell to 11,742,000 in March--the lowest level since December 2008--and the number of job openings. Unemployment fell again in March to 11,659,000.

The month-over-month increase in the number of layoffs and discharges was the second in a row and the third in the last five months. Year-over-year through March, layoffs and discharges were down 0.6 percent.

_Hear Mark Lieberman on P.O.T.U.S (Sirius 124) on Friday at 6:20 a.m. and again at 9:20 a.m. Eastern._

About Author: Mark Lieberman

Mark Lieberman is the former Senior Economist at Fox Business Network. He is now Managing Director and Senior Economist at Economics Analytics Research. He can be heard each Friday on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM Radio 124.
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