Manufacturing Job Openings Dipped to their Lowest Level in 13 Months in November

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturing job openings fell to their lowest level in 13 months in November. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reported that job postings in the sector declined from a revised 310,000 in October to 294,000 in November, the first time this measure has been below 300,000 since October 2014. As such, it represents a pullback in the pace of job openings since the indicator reached an eight-year high in July with 339,000 postings. Digging a little deeper, job openings for nondurable goods firms decreased from 127,000 to 111,000; whereas, postings from durable goods manufacturers was unchanged for the month. Both durable and nondurable goods activity remained soft, however, easing from stronger growth in the summer.

Meanwhile, net hiring in the manufacturing sector was flat in November. Manufacturers hired 274,000 workers in November, up from 265,000 in October, with durable and nondurable goods businesses seeing increases. At the same time, manufacturing job separations – which include quits, layoffs and retirements – rose from 267,000 to 274,000. As such, net hiring (or hires minus separations) was zero in November, up from a decline of 2,000 in October. Hopefully, we will see a rebound in net employment growth in the coming months.

In the larger economy, nonfarm job openings accelerated from 5,349,000 in October to 5,431,000 in November. Postings have slowed since reaching an all-time high of 5,668,000 in July, but have trended higher over the past year, up from 4,886,000 in November 2014. There were increased job openings in the following sectors in November: construction, education and health services, government, leisure and hospitality and professional and business services. Beyond job openings, net hiring in the overall economy was unchanged at 267,000.

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray

Chad Moutray is chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Director of the Center for Manufacturing Research for The Manufacturing Institute, where he serves as the NAM’s economic forecaster and spokesperson on economic issues. He frequently comments on current economic conditions for manufacturers through professional presentations and media interviews. He has appeared on Bloomberg, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox Business and Fox News, among other news outlets.
Chad Moutray

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