Discussion Paper

Employment Change: Are Workers Coming or Going?

Abstract: One of the most cited measures in the U.S. economy is the net number of jobs gained in a month. But that net gain (e.g., 272,000 jobs gained in May) reflects an enormous amount of churn in the labor market as millions of workers gain new jobs (new hires) and millions lose or leave their jobs (involuntary/voluntary separations) in any given month. At a micro level, if firms report a net job gain, they have either increased hiring or kept hiring steady and experienced a decrease in separations. If firms report that their net employment gains are attributed more to declines in separations than increases in hiring, that might foreshadow some softening in the labor market. In May, to better understand the current dynamics at the firm level, we asked Fifth District businesses about how their employment, hiring, and separations have changed in the last month. Among our surveyed firms, we find that although the dynamics in separations might be changing, it is hiring that matters most to employment change; respondent firms that are and expect to increase employment are also those that have high levels of hiring relative to what they might consider "normal."

Keywords: employment; hiring; Fifth District;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Part of Series: Regional Matters

Publication Date: 2024-06-14