The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is out, presenting a dichotomy between eager employers and a continuing skills gap that makes it difficult to fill all needed positions.
The JOLTS report shows that 322,000 workers were added to manufacturing payrolls in March — the largest amount of industrial demand since April 2008. During the first quarter of 2017, there were close to 1 million manufacturing hires (922,000), an improvement of 11.4% from the first quarter of 2016.
This is the best start to a year in the manufacturing sector since 2008.
According to a statement from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), “The rising confidence stems from the belief that the new administration in Washington, D.C., will bring much needed regulatory relief — as well as reforms to the tax code and a significant infrastructure package.”
Despite the hiring surge, the industry itself has not added many jobs in the last five months (around 70,000), instead focusing on filling its openings. As of March there remained 394,000 open jobs lacking a qualified workforce. This is manufacturing’s largest number of vacancies since April 2006, tying that month’s 394,000 estimate.
For more on the latest employment data across all sectors, click here.