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JOLTS: Hiring in the Manufacturing Sector Rose in February to Best Reading in More Than 10 Years

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that hiring in the manufacturing sector rose in February to its best reading since November 2007, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data. The manufacturing sector hired 380,000 workers in February, up from 360,000 in January. That reflected stronger activity for both durable (up from 212,000 to 215,000) and nondurable (up from 149,000 to 165,000) goods businesses. At the same time, total separations—including layoffs, quits and retirements—rose from 343,000 to 352,000, a level not seen since May 2009.

As a result, net hiring (or hires minus separations) rose from 17,000 in January to 28,000 in February, a four-month high. More importantly, however, net hiring has averaged a rather healthy 16,417 over the past 12 months, with a robust average of 25,142 over the past seven months.

Meanwhile, there were 426,000 manufacturing job openings in February, inching up from 424,000 in January. That was the strongest reading since September (445,000), which was a pace not seen since January 2001. In fact, the job postings rate in February was only the sixth time since the indicator started in December 2000 that openings have exceeded 400,000. In the latest figures, nondurable goods firms posted more jobs in February (up from 152,000 to 158,000), which was just enough to offset a slightly slower pace of openings for durable goods manufacturers (down from 273,000 to 269,000).

The pace of job openings has continued to trend higher overall. For comparison purposes, monthly job openings in the sector averaged 389,667 in 2017, up from 341,250 in 2016. Moving forward, renewed strength for job openings would be anticipated in the coming months.

Turning to the larger economy, job openings for nonfarm payroll businesses dropped from 6,228,000 in January to 6,052,000 in February. January’s rate was the second highest in the survey’s history, narrowly edged out by the 6,231,000 openings in September. In the latest data, job openings increased in financial activities, government, health care and social assistance, information, manufacturing and other services sectors. At the same time, net hiring among nonfarm businesses continued to be very solid, at 255,000 and 315,000 in January and February, respectively.

Manufacturing Job Openings Eased from 16-Year High but Exceeded 400,000 for Fifth Straight Month

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that manufacturing job openings decreased from 435,000 in both August and September—both at the highest point since January 2001—to 402,000 in October. Overall, the data suggest manufacturers are posting new jobs at a very strong rate, exceeding 400,000 for the fifth consecutive month. Indeed, as the manufacturing outlook has improved, job openings have turned higher—another sign the labor market has tightened significantly. One year ago, for instance, there were 314,000 job openings in the sector. The underlying job openings data for durable and nondurable goods decreased, but nondurable goods experienced a steeper decline (down from 173,000 to 147,000) than durable goods (down from 262,000 to 255,000).

Meanwhile, manufacturing hiring remained positive in October. The sector hired 345,000 workers in October, up from 329,000 in September and not far from August’s level of 359,000, which was nearly a 10-year high. Hiring increased for both durable (up from 189,000 to 201,000) and nondurable (up from 140,000 to 143,000) goods firms. At the same time, total separations—including layoffs, quits and retirements—inched down from 315,000 to 308,000. As a result, net hiring (or hires minus separations) rose from 14,000 in September to 37,000 in October. This implies average net hiring of 17,500 workers per month year to date, which is a relatively robust growth rate.

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JOLTS: Manufacturing Job Openings Were Very Strong in September

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturing job openings dipped from 435,000 in August—its highest level since January 2001—to 425,000 in September. Overall, though, this data suggests that manufacturers are posting new jobs at a very strong rate, with an improved economic outlook boosting employment growth. To put the current number in perspective, job openings in the sector were 326,000 one year ago. The underlying job openings data in September were mixed. Durable goods firms added posted more jobs in September, up from 248,000 to 255,000, a level not seen since April 2006. In contrast, job openings were lower for nondurable goods businesses for the second straight month, down from 187,000 to 170,000. This could reflect some negative impacts from recent hurricanes, likely making the decrease temporary. Read More

JOLTS: Manufacturing Hiring Remained Robust in August

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics said manufacturing hiring remained robust in August, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) figures. The sector hired 352,000 workers in August, edging down from 353,000 in July. The pace of hiring in both months was the best since November 2007. In August, increased hiring at durable goods firms (up from 205,000 to 212,000, its highest level since November 2007) was essentially offset by reduced hiring for nondurable goods businesses (down from 148,000 to 140,000). At the same time, total separations—including layoffs, quits and retirements—fell from 320,000 to 304,000, a six-month low. As a result, net hiring (or hires minus separations) jumped from 33,000 in July to 48,000 in August. Read More

Total Manufacturing Hires in July Was Highest Since the Great Recession

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics said total manufacturing hires in July was the highest since December 2007, the first official month of the Great Recession. The sector hired 341,000 workers in July, up from 324,000 in June. Both durable (up from 190,000 to 196,000) and nondurable (up from 134,000 to 145,000) goods firms added employees in July, with the level of durable goods hiring at a 9½-year high. At the same time, total separations—including layoffs, quits and retirements—also increased, up from 315,000 to 321,000. The level of separations was the highest since June 2009, which coincidently was the last official month of the recession. As a result, net hiring (or hires minus separations) was 20,000 in July, up from 9,000 in June, its strongest monthly pace since December 2014. Read More

Manufacturing Job Openings Bounced Back in June; Nonfarm Postings at New All-Time High

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that manufacturing job openings bounced back from 350,000 in May—its slowest pace so far this year—to 388,000 in June. That was the best number since March’s reading of 404,000, which was a 16-year high. In June, both durable (up from 201,000 to 214,000) and nondurable (up from 149,000 to 174,000) goods firms had more job postings. Openings in the sector have averaged 372,000 year to date in 2017, an improvement from the average of 342,000 for all of 2016. We would expect stronger job openings data moving forward, especially given recent improvements in the economic outlook for the sector, and this should lead to better hiring figures. Read More

Hiring Rate for Manufacturers at Nearly a 10-Year High in May

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the rate of hiring in the manufacturing sector in May grew to its fastest pace since November 2007. According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data, manufacturers hired 332,000 workers in May, up from 314,000 in April. Expressed as a percentage of the total manufacturing workforce, that meant the hiring rate in the sector jumped from 2.5 percent to 2.7 percent, or nearly a 10-year high. Hiring has trended upward across the past nine months since it bottomed out at 268,000 in August. With that said, total separations—including layoffs, quits and retirements—also rose, up from 317,000 to 327,000, with the separations rate unchanged at 2.6 percent. As a result, net hiring (or hires minus separations) increased by 5,000 in May, rebounding from a loss of 3,000 workers in April. Read More

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