JOLTS: Net Job Hiring Among Manufacturers Remained Robust in November

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that net hiring among manufacturers remained robust in November, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report. The manufacturing sector hired 355,000 workers in November, up from 344,000 in October and not far from August’s level of 359,000, which was nearly a 10-year high.

Hiring increased for durable goods firms in November, up from 198,000 to 209,000, but was unchanged for nondurable goods manufacturers at 146,000. At the same time, total separations—including layoffs, quits and retirements—rose from 309,000 to 327,000. As a result, net hiring (or hires minus separations) declined from 35,000 in October to 28,000 in November. More importantly, however, net hiring has averaged a very healthy 33,600 over the past five months, or 20,100 year to date.

Meanwhile, manufacturing job openings decelerated, down from 409,000 in October to 378,000 in November. It was the first reading for job postings below 400,000 since May. Nonetheless, the pace of job openings has picked up overall. Monthly job openings in the sector have averaged 394,000 through the first 11 months of 2017, up from 341,750 for all of 2016. Indeed, as the manufacturing outlook has improved, job openings have turned higher—another sign that the labor market has tightened significantly. One year ago, for instance, there were 319,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector. The underlying job openings data in November decreased for both durable (down from 247,000 to 231,000) and nondurable (down from 162,000 to 147,000) goods businesses.

Turning to the larger economy, job openings for nonfarm payroll businesses edged down from 5,925,000 in October to 5,879,000 in November. It was the second consecutive month with job postings below 6 million, with total job openings pulling back from the all-time high recorded in July (6,140,000). In the latest data, the largest monthly increases in postings included construction, finance and insurance, information and retail and wholesale trade. Meanwhile, net hiring among nonfarm businesses continued to be strong, at 341,000 and 286,000 in October and November, respectively.

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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