Job openings fell by 1.7% in August from July, representing little change, according to data released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of separations was also little changed at 5.6 million in August.

Separations includes both layoffs and discharges as well as quits. The BLS noted the number of quits in August fell by 142,000 to 3.5 million with the decrease driven by the private sector. Quits are, generally, voluntary separations initiated by the employee and can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs.

When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises. When the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines.

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