2021 Was a Record Year for Hiring & Turnover

February 1, 2022
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Author: Mallory Vachon, Ph.D., Sr. Economist

The Bureau of Labor Statistics December 2021 JOLTS report sheds light on hiring and turnover for 2021. In December, hires and quits remained elevated but both decreased slightly to 6.3 million and 4.3 million, respectively. Quits were down from a record-high 4.5 million in November 2021.

December 2021 JOLTS report shows strong hiring, but turnover continues.

Job openings – an indicator of business’ demand for talent – increased by just over 100,000 to 10.9 million from 10.8 million in November.

Overall, 2021 was a record year for hiring and turnover. The annual totals for job openings, hires and quits reached record highs – there were 116.9 million total job openings, 75.3 million hires and 47.4 million quits. In 2021, job openings were 31 million higher than the previous record of 85.9 million from 2019, hires topped the previous record of 73.1 million from 2020 and quits were 5.3 million higher than the previous record of 42.1 million from 2019. These numbers remain elevated because of the sheer volume of jobs lost in the early months of the pandemic. Businesses post job openings to re-hire employees lost in 2020 and to backfill roles vacated as employees leave their jobs for higher salaries or increased benefits.

The nearly 240 million total job openings, hires and quits for 2021 highlight the increased demand for talent acquisition professionals as well as the pressures they face as companies compete to hire and retain talent.

Note: The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), tracks the volume of job openings, hires, quits and other separations, reported on a two-month delay.