Last updateThu, 19 Sep 2019 4pm

Manufacturing Job Openings at All-Time High

According to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, job openings in the U.S. fell for a second straight month in July. In the manufacturing sector, however, openings jumped to an all-time high, rising from 515,000 in June to 522,000 in July. The manufacturing job openings were led by durable goods manufacturers, with openings there also increasing to a new record level of 331,000.

Durable Goods Order Up 2.0% in July

New orders for manufactured durable goods in July, up two consecutive months, increased $5.0 billion or 2.0% to $250.2 billion, down from the previously published 2.1% increase. This followed a 1.8% June increase. Transportation equipment, also up two consecutive months, drove the increase, $5.7 billion or 7.0% to $86.4 billion.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in July, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $2.9 billion or 1.1% to $253.9 billion, unchanged from the previously published decrease. This followed a 0.9% June increase.

Manufacturing Productivity Declines in Consecutive Quarters

According to the newest estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor, manufacturing sector labor productivity decreased 2.2% in the second quarter of 2019 as output decreased 3.0% and hours worked declined 0. 8%. This is the second consecutive quarter with declines in both output and hours in the manufacturing sector; in the first quarter of 2019 output declined 1.8% and hours declined 2.9%. This is the first occurrence of two consecutive quarters of declines in both output and hours in manufacturing since the second quarter of 2009.

U.S. Added 130,000 Jobs in August

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 130,000 in August, below economists' expectations, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Employment in federal government rose, largely reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in health care and financial activities, while mining lost jobs. Manufacturing increased by 3,000.

Mid-America Economy Sinks to 42-Month Low

The July Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index, an economic indicator for the nine-state region stretching from Minnesota to Arkansas, slumped to a weak reading signaling positive, but slower, growth for the region over the next three to six months.

The Business Conditions Index, which ranges between 0 and 100, fell to 52.0 from June’s 55.4. This is the lowest reading recorded in more than three years. Even so, this was the 32nd straight month the index has remained above growth neutral 50.0.

Looking ahead six months, economic optimism, as captured by the July Business Confidence Index, dropped to 51.4 from June’s much higher 59.1. This is the lowest recorded confidence reading since October 2016.

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