Last updateTue, 22 Jan 2019 8pm


Job Openings at U.S. Factories at All-Time High

Job openings in the manufacturing “jumped to a new all-time high of 522,000 (this October data is up from 485,000 in September). Durable goods firms reported the most job postings in October (332,000) since January 2001, with openings for nondurable goods manufacturers (189,000) also higher for the month,” writes NAM chief economist Chad Moutray. “In addition, there were 384,000 hires in October, with 345,000 separations (which include quits, layoffs and retirements). As a result, there was net hiring of 39,000 workers in the manufacturing sector in October, the fastest pace in 14 months.” 

U.S. Factory Orders Saw Largest Drop in Over a Year

New orders for manufactured goods in October, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $10.5 billion or 2.1% to $502.7 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported. This followed a 0.2% September increase. Shipments, down following fifteen consecutive monthly increases, decreased $0.5 billion or 0.1% to $508.4 billion. This followed a 0.7% September increase. 

U.S. Added 155,000 Jobs in November

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 155,000 in November, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Job gains occurred in health care, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing.

In November, manufacturing added 27,000 jobs, with increases in chemicals (+6,000) and primary metals (+3,000). Manufacturing employment has increased by 288,000 over the year, largely in durable goods industries. 

Federal Reserve: Tariff Effects Spread Across U.S.

Most of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts reported that their economies expanded at a modest or moderate pace from mid-October through late November, though both Dallas and Philadelphia noted slower growth compared with the prior Beige Book period. St. Louis and Kansas City noted just slight growth. On balance, consumer spending held steady.

Tariffs remained a concern for manufacturers, but a majority of Districts continued to report moderate growth in the sector. Reports of tariff-induced cost increases have spread more broadly from manufacturers and contractors to retailers and restaurants. 

Texas Manufacturing Expansion Continues to Moderate

Texas factory activity continued to expand in November, albeit at a markedly slower pace, according to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, remained positive but fell nine points to 8.4, indicating output growth continued to abate. Perceptions of broader business conditions remained positive overall but were less optimistic than in October.

Other indexes of manufacturing activity also suggested notably slower expansion in November. The survey’s demand indicators—the new orders and growth rate of new orders indexes—declined to 9.7 and 4.8, respectively, representing their lowest readings in 20 months. The capacity utilization index fell six points to 9.4, and the shipments index fell nine points to 7.7, both at their lowest levels in at least 20 months. 

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