Employment growth is starting to level off, though the labor market remains tight. There were 693,000 manufacturing job openings in March, down from 707,000 in February and the lowest level since April 2021, according to the newest JOLTS survey.

The bigger picture: Over the past 12 months, job openings in the sector have averaged nearly 811,250, but that figure slows to 749,000 when averaging over the past six months.

  • However, job openings in the industry are still higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Manufacturers hired 393,000 workers in March, down from 416,000 in February and the lowest since April 2021. Total separations inched up from 409,000 to 415,000 for the month. That means net hiring (or hiring minus separations) was -22,000 in March, the first time the reading has been negative since April 2021.

The U.S. Department of Labor jobs report today surpassed expectations and demonstrated the continued resilience of the U.S. economy, with 253,000 jobs added in April, even amid concerns in the bank industry, Federal Reserve interest rate hikes and other signs of economic slowdown, reports CNBC.

  • The unemployment rate fell to 3.4%, equaling the pre-pandemic low from 2019 and the lowest level since 1969.

Manufacturing jobs: While professional and business services led gains with an increase of 43,000, manufacturing saw positive job gains of 11,000 last month.

  • “In April, the largest increases in manufacturing employment occurred in transportation equipment (up 6,700, including 5,800 for motor vehicles and parts), fabricated metal products (up 6,300), computer and electronic products (up 3,200) and chemicals (up 2,000),” said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray.
  • “In contrast,” Moutray added, “the biggest employment declines in the sector for the month occurred in paper and paper products (down 2,700), electrical equipment, appliances and components (down 2,600), nonmetallic mineral products (down 2,300), wood products (down 1,400) and textile product mills (down 1,000).”