The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the number of hires in the manufacturing sector rose from 226,000 in October to 259,000 in November. This was the fastest pace of new hires in over two years. At the same time, separations in the sector – which include layoffs, quits, and retirements – were also somewhat greater, up from 210,000 to 234,000.
As a result, net hiring (or hires minus separations) rose from 16,000 to 25,000. This suggests that net hiring continues to pick up, with definite improvement from July’s data that showed more separations than hires. Indeed, the 25,000 net hiring rate in November was that figure has been since March 2012. This progress mirrors similar employment data that have already been released showing an average of 16,000 net new workers added in manufacturing from August to December.
Meanwhile, the number of manufacturing job openings eased a bit for the month, down from 302,000 in October to 297,000 in November. Despite the pullback, job postings appear to have recovered from recent weaknesses. As recently as June, there were only 210,000 job openings in the sector, and October’s pace had been the fastest since March 2012. Therefore, the November figure sustains much of that growth. This will hopefully lead to additional hiring in the months ahead.
In the larger economy, total job openings increased from 3,931,000 in October to 4,001,000 in November. This was the first time since March 2008 that job postings in the overall economy exceeded 4 million. Sectors with more job openings for the month included accommodation and food services, construction, education and health care, government, and trade, transportation and utilities.
Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.