The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the number of manufacturing job openings dropped from 296,000 in June to 271,000 in July. The figure for June was also revised lower, down from its original estimate of 312,000. This suggests that manufacturers have slowed their rate of posting new positions, even as the number of openings continues to exceed actual hiring.
Manufacturing hiring and separations were also lower. Hirings declined from 270,000 to 243,000; while, separations – which include layoffs, quits, and retirements – fell from 263,000 to 226,000. Despite lower figures for both, these data do suggest net hiring on the part of manufacturers of 17,000 in July, up from 7,000 in June. The job market among manufacturers has softened over the course of the year, as net hiring was 36,000 in January – the fastest rate of 2012 so far.
These trends were true of the larger economy, as well. Total job openings were down from 3,722,000 in June to 3,664,000 in July, with hiring and separations also lower. Hiring levels increased in the construction, education, government leisure and hospitality, and retail trade sectors. But, these were more than offset by declines in manufacturing and professional and business services.
Chad Moutray is chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.