The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturing job openings rebounded in January after easing slightly in December. The number of job postings in the sector rose from 310,000 in December to 330,000 in January, which was just barely lower than the 332,000 seen in November. November’s pace had been the fastest since August 2007, and the number of openings have risen steadily on a year-over-year pace, up from 263,000 in January 2014. In this latest report, both durable (up from 195,000 to 202,000) and nondurable (up from 115,000 to 127,000) goods industries reported more openings for the month.
At the same time, manufacturing net hiring has slowed, consistent with previously released jobs data. Manufacturers hired 262,000 workers in January, down from 276,000 in December. In addition, total separations – including layoffs, quits and retirements – edged marginally lower, down from 253,000 to 252,000. Therefore, net hiring (or hires minus separations) declined from 23,000 in December to 10,000 in January. On the positive side, hiring has picked up overall, with 236,000 hires in February 2014, its lowest level of last year.
In the larger economy, nonfarm job openings rose from 4,877,000 in December to 4,998,000 in January, or just shy of 5 million. In January, there were more job openings in the construction, leisure and hospitality, and trade, transportation and utilities sectors, in addition to manufacturing. Beyond that, net hiring also decelerated for nonfarm payrolls, down from 338,000 to 175,000. Yet, hiring picked up in government, health care, leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and retail trade.
Chad Moutray is the chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers.
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