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Staffing amid a rising ‘quits rate’

By Larry Hannappel

There were 3.7 million job openings on the last business day of March, up significantly from a year earlier, and people continued to quit jobs at higher levels, according to the government’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Both figures indicate a healthier economy.

The U.S. Labor Department said that 1.6 percent of job holders quit in March. That’s unchanged from February, which is good, and is considerably better than the figure in March 2011.

The “quits rate” has trended higher since dipping to 1.2 percent in September 2009, but is still below its long-term average. Since 2000, the rate has averaged 1.9 percent. 

The number of “quits” was 2.1 million in March, up from 1.8 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.

The quits rate can act as a measure of a worker’s willingness or ability to change jobs. The layoffs rate was unchanged in March at 1.3 percent.

“Quits go hand-in-hand with consumer confidence and for the first time of the recovery, quits represent a greater percentage of total separations than do involuntary layoffs,” Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx Group, wrote in a note to clients that broke down the data.

Over the 12 months ending in March, hires totaled 50.7 million and separations totaled 48.8 million, yielding a net employment gain of 1.9 million.

About the Author


Larry Hannappel

Larry spent 16 years with Century Casino’s and was instrumental in the start-up and growth of the company through expansions in Canada, South Africa, the Czech Republic, Poland and on several cruise ships as well as in Colorado. He was most recently the SVP, Principal Finance Officer and COO of North American operations for Century Casinos Inc., a multinational, Nasdaq-traded gaming company. Earlier in his career, Larry worked at the Johns Manville Corp. Larry spent 13 years in various accounting and finance functions in the company’s fiberglass manufacturing division and was key in the start-up of a molding plant in Indiana. Larry and his wife Kathy and three children live in Colorado. He enjoys four-wheeling, motorcycling, golfing, skiing and brewing beer.

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