Report shows US job separations declined in April, still hit historic levels

The number of total separations decreased by 4.8 million in April, to 9.9 million, according to the most recent summary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Despite that decline, April still brought the second-highest number of separations in the history of the report as the coronavirus continued to gut the labor market.

The BLS defines total separations as including quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Quits are voluntary separations initiated by the employee, while layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer.

The largest total separations decreases were in accommodation and food services (3,001,000), professional and business services (473,000) and retail trade (460,000). The industries with the highest total separations increase included real estate and rental and leasing (47,000), state and local government, excluding education (46,000), and information (42,000).

Total separations decreased in all four regions — Midwest, Northeast, South and West.

On the last business day of April, the number of job openings decreased by 965,000 to 5 million. The largest declines were in professional and business services (309,000), health care and social assistance (115,000) and retail trade (113,000).

The number of job openings fell in all four regions.

The number of hires decreased to series lows of 3.5 million, a decrease of 1,587,000. Among the industries with the largest declines were professional and business services (422,000), accommodation and food services (247,000) and construction (196,000).

The number of hires decreased in all four regions.

Over the 12 months ending in April, hires totaled 67.2 million and separations totaled 81.1 million, yielding net employment loss of 13.9 million, according to the BLS.

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