The Establishment-Level Behavior of Vacancies and Hiring

Steven Davis, Jason Faberman and John Haltiwanger , Quarterly Journal of Economics 128(2) , 581-622 , May 2013.

This paper is the first to study vacancies, hires, and vacancy yields at the establishment level in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, a large sample of US employers. To interpret the data, we develop a simple model that identifies the flow of new vacancies and the job-filling rate for vacant positions. The fill rate moves counter to aggregate employment but rises steeply with employer growth rates in the cross section. It falls with employer size, rises with worker turnover rates, and varies by a factor of four across major industry groups. We also develop evidence that the employer-level hiring technology exhibits mild increasing returns in vacancies, and that employers rely heavily on other instruments, in addition to vacancies, as they vary hires. Building from our evidence and a generalized matching function, we construct a new index of recruiting intensity (per vacancy). Recruiting intensity partly explains the recent breakdown in the standard matching function, delivers a better-fitting empirical Beveridge curve, and accounts for a large share of fluctuations in aggregate hires. Our evidence and analysis provide useful inputs for assessing, developing, and calibrating theoretical models of search, matching, and hiring in the labor market.

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