Labor Market Quits Hit Record High
- There were 858,000 manufacturing job openings in November, down from a record 955,000 in October. While the pace of job postings decelerated somewhat, it was the eighth straight month with openings that have exceeded 800,000, averaging 887,000 over that time frame.
- Nonfarm business job openings eased from 11,091,000 in October, which was the second highest on record, to 10,562,000 in November. There were 6,877,000 unemployed Americans in November, translating into 65 unemployed workers for every 100 job openings in the U.S. economy.
- Total nonfarm business quits jumped to 4,527,000 in November, a new all-time high. This speaks to the high degree of “churn” in the labor market, and it exacerbates the workforce difficulties that companies are experiencing.
- Turning to the latest jobs numbers, manufacturing employment rose by 26,000 in December, increasing for the eighth straight month with solid growth. There were 349,000 workers added in the sector in 2021, the most since 1994, but there remained 219,000 fewer manufacturing employees in December relative to pre-pandemic levels.
- Average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers in manufacturing increased 0.5% to $24.33 in December. That represented a 5.2% increase over the past 12 months, the fastest year-over-year rate of wage growth in the sector since September 1982.
- The ISM® Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index® declined from 61.1 in November to 58.7 in December, expanding at the slowest pace since last January. Even with some easing, new orders and production ended the year with solid growth, and hiring rose at the fastest rate since April. Measures of delivery times and cost pressures continued to reflect a challenging environment but have pulled back from recent records.
- New orders for manufactured goods rose 1.6% to a new record level in November. Overall, the manufacturing sector continues to expand strongly—despite lingering supply chain, workforce and pricing pressures—with new orders soaring 13.6% year to date.
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