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Manufacturing Job Openings Climbed to record high in October
- There were 525,000 manufacturing job openings in October, up from 492,000 in September and a new record high. Manufacturers are clearly ramping back up, rebounding from springtime weaknesses. In the larger economy, nonfarm business job openings increased from 6,494,000 in September to 6,652,000 in October, a three-month high.
- One sign of improved health is the “churn” seen in the labor market, and the number of quits has rebounded in recent months, a reassuring sign that the labor market is strengthening.
- With that said, initial unemployment claims rose to 853,000 for the week ending Dec. 5, the highest level since the week ending Sept. 19. This suggests that the continued spread of COVID-19, along with new restrictions, has resulted in an increased pace of Americans filing for first-time unemployment insurance benefits. Indeed, data from other sources also suggest that the pace of job openings slowed in late November.
- The Small Business Optimism Index declined from 104.0 in October to 101.4 in November, with owners continuing to worry about short-term political and COVID-19 uncertainties. Indeed, the net percentage expecting business conditions to improve dropped to the lowest level since March. Despite some slippage in confidence, the headline index continued to reflect overall strength, with workforce challenges topping the “single most important problem” list once again.
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