- Private manufacturing construction rose 4.6% to a record $146.99 billion in March. Private construction in the sector has trended significantly higher since bottoming out at $72.46 billion in February 2021. Over the past 12 months, activity has soared 62.5%.
- Manufacturing employment rose by 11,000 in April, with 253,000 additional nonfarm payroll workers. There were 12,991,000 manufacturing employees in April, the most since November 2008, with the sector continuing to build on strong gains in the previous two years.
- The unemployment rate edged down from 3.5% in March to 3.4% in April, matching the rate in January, which was the lowest since May 1969. As such, the labor market continues to hover at “full employment” levels despite challenges in the macroeconomy.
- The average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers in manufacturing rose 0.3% to $26.03 in April, with 4.7% growth year-over-year. Earnings have continued to rise at a healthy pace, even with some deceleration from the 40-year highs seen at this point last year.
- There were 693,000 manufacturing job openings in March, the lowest level since April 2021, with the labor market showing some signs of cooling despite the pace of postings remaining elevated. There were 9,590,000 nonfarm payroll job openings in March, also a 23-month low. For every 100 job openings in the U.S. economy, there were 60.9 unemployed workers.
- Nonetheless, manufacturers remained challenged for the sixth straight month, but with the ISM® Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index® improving from 46.3 in March to 47.1 in April. New orders contracted for the eighth consecutive month, with notable weaknesses in demand cited in the sample comments. At the same time, lead times have continued to narrow, reflecting progress on supply chain issues.
- New orders for manufactured goods rose 0.9% in March, led largely by a sharp increase in nondefense aircraft and parts orders. Excluding transportation equipment, factory orders decreased 0.7% in March. Overall, new manufactured goods orders have decreased 2.7% since peaking in June 2022, with factory orders excluding transportation down 4.1% over the past nine months. As such, manufacturing activity has pulled back notably since last summer.
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