I'm looking at the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). It also allows you to disentangle separations between layoffs and quits. The data comes from surveys, i.e. is self reported.

There's several reasons why the quit/layoff data may be misreported, e.g.

  • Quits that anticipate layoffs, will bias up the number of quits
  • Firms might not care / not know exactly, and assume it was a quit/layoff (direction ambiguous)
  • Responder may purposefully or subconsciously try to defend the firm's image, and misreport

Importantly, there's no reason that the aforementioned reasons should average out to the true data, or that the bias is constant over the business cycle.

Since there are many studies that actually rely on layoff versus quits - is there a study on the reliance of this data?


1 Answer 1


Here is a short lists of study’s that looks at the on the reliance of JOLTS data as well as make comparisons to other similar data sets.

Analysis of JOLTS Research Estimates by Size of Firm October 2012- Katherine Bauer Klemmer https://www.bls.gov/osmr/pdf/st120060.pdf

ADJUSTED ESTIMATES OF WORKER FLOWS AND JOB OPENINGS IN JOLTS- Steven Davis, R. Jason Faberman, John Haltiwanger, Ian Rucker (2018). http://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/steven.davis/pdf/MS_ch5_StevenDavis-et-al_p315-370.pdf

Help-Wanted Advertising and Job Vacancies- Rob Valletta – Federal Reserve San Francisco https://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2005/january/help-wanted-advertising-and-job-vacancies/

UNDERSTANDING ONLINE JOB ADS DATA - Anthony Carnevale, Tamara Jayasundera, Dmitri Repnikov https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/OCLM.Tech_.Web_.pdf

Reliability of JOLTS Estimates https://www.bls.gov/jlt/jltreliability.htm


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