Labor Market Statistics: How to Read a Labor Market Report

HR professionals and recruiters benefit from understanding labor market statistics.

Better Safe Than Sorry; Read the Reports Yourself [source: http://bit.ly/2BwSdRj]
Better Safe Than Sorry; Read the Reports Yourself [source: http://bit.ly/2BwSdRj]
Looking at the big picture of the labor market helps to gather the following insights (amongst others):

  • Understand labor market balance
    • Balanced market: Supply and demand are in an equilibrium
    • Supply market: There are more job openings relative to the labor supply; it is more competitive market for employers to hire
    • Demand market: There is an oversupply of labor; it is relatively easy to hire for the available openings
  • Identify employment trends within industries
    • Which industries are on a rise?
    • Which industries are on a decline?
    • Is talent shifting from a declining industry into new areas of work?
  • Adjust strategies/tactics accordingly
    • Adjust campaign budgets to bid more aggressively
    • Target campaigns at talent groups from declining industries
    • etc.

At Perengo, we use the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to curate a quarterly labor market report.


Perengo Labor Market Report

Below you will find the definitions of all data points entailed in our quarterly labor market report.

We grouped the glossary definitions by the sections of the report:

Chapter 1: Macro Numbers

Civilian noninstitutional population – Included are persons 16 years of age and older residing in the 50 states and the District of Columbia who do not live in institutions (for example, correctional facilities, long-term care hospitals, and nursing homes) and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces.

Labor force – The labor force includes all persons classified as employed or unemployed in accordance with the definitions contained in this glossary.

Labor force participation rate – The labor force as a percent of the civilian noninstitutional population.

Employed persons – Persons 16 years and over in the civilian noninstitutional population who, during the reference week, (a) did any work at all (at least 1 hour) as paid employees; worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm, or worked 15 hours or more as unpaid workers in an enterprise operated by a member of the family; and (b) all those who were not working but who had jobs or businesses from which they were temporarily absent because of vacation, illness, bad weather, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, labor-management dispute, job training, or other family or personal reasons, whether or not they were paid for the time off or were seeking other jobs. Each employed person is counted only once, even if he or she holds more than one job. Excluded are persons whose only activity consisted of work around their own house (painting, repairing, or own home housework) or volunteer work for religious, charitable, and other organizations.

Employment-population ratio – The proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population aged 16 years and over that is employed.

Unemployed persons – Persons aged 16 years and older who had no employment during the reference week, were available for work, except for temporary illness, and had made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons who were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been laid off need not have been looking for work to be classified as unemployed.

Unemployment rate – The unemployment rate represents the number unemployed as a percent of the labor force.

Median days away from work – The measure used to summarize the varying lengths of absences from work among the cases with days away from work. The median is the point at which half of the cases involved more days away from work and half involved less days away from work.

Not in the labor force – Includes persons aged 16 years and older in the civilian noninstitutional population who are neither employed nor unemployed in accordance with the definitions contained in this glossary. Information is collected on their desire for and availability for work, job search activity in the prior year, and reasons for not currently searching.

Full-time workers – Persons who work 35 hours or more per week.

Part-time workers – Persons who work less than 35 hours per week.

Chapter 2: Jobs and Industries

Separation/Turnover – Separation of an employee from an establishment (voluntary, involuntary, or other).

Separation / Turnover rate – The number of total separations during the month divided by the number of employees who worked during or received pay for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month (monthly turnover); the number of total separations for the year divided by average monthly employment for the year (annual turnover).

Hire – Any addition to an establishment’s payroll, including newly hired and rehired employees.

Hires rate – The number of hires during the month divided by the number of employees who worked during or received pay for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month.

Job opening – A specific position of employment to be filled at an establishment; conditions include the following: there is work available for that position, the job could start within 30 days, and the employer is actively recruiting for the position.

Job openings rate – The number of job openings on the last business day of the month divided by the sum of the number of employees who worked during or received pay for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month and the number of job openings on the last business day of the month.


If you have insights and opinions on this topic please share your thoughts.

Thanks, Team Perengo


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Perengo is a programmatic recruitment platform focusing on large-volume recruitment needs for hourly positions.

1 thought on “Labor Market Statistics: How to Read a Labor Market Report”

  1. Pingback: Quarterly Labor Market Report: State of the Job Market Q3 2017

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