The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the number of manufacturing job openings rose to their highest level in 16 months. Job postings from manufacturers increased from 256,000 in September to 281,000 in October. This was the fastest pace since June 2012. The job openings rate in October was 2.3 percent of total manufacturing employment, up from 2.1 percent in September and a definite improvement from the 1.7 percent pace observed in June.
At the same time, the hiring data were somewhat mixed. The number of manufacturing hires fell from 251,000 in September to 235,000 in October. Separations in the sector – which include layoffs, quits, and retirements – were also lower, down from 246,000 to 214,000.
Despite the reduced rates for hires and separations, net hiring (or hires minus separations) rose for the month from 5,000 in September to 21,000 in October. As such, this was the most net new hires in the manufacturing sector since March 2012. Indeed, the latest overall jobs numbers have also reflected this pickup in employment growth.
In the larger economy, total job openings increased from 3,883,000 in September to 3,925,000 in October. In addition to gains in manufacturing, other sectors with more job postings for the month included construction, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and state and local government. Meanwhile, net hiring nationally jumped from 155,000 to 260,000. Some of the sectors with additional workers hired in October were construction, government, leisure and hospitality, and retail trade.
Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.
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