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We like graphs because they tell the story without spin.

These trends are NOT being adequately discussed on the news.

Three out of three indicators agree, openings and hires are  down, while separations are increasing sharply.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the number of manufacturing job openings dropped from 273,000 in July to 255,000 in August.

This is its lowest level since December 2011, with job postings declining for three straight months.

The other big headline for manufacturing is that net hiring turned negative. The BLS employment report  (link to NAM summary) showed that manufacturing jobs decreased in September for the second consecutive month.

In August, manufacturers hired 233,000 workers, down from 244,000 in July. This number is the lowest since June 2009.

At the same time, separations rose from 228,000 to 248,000. Separations include layoffs, quits and retirements.

This suggests net separations of 15,000 workers in August, a reversal of the net hiring of 16,000 observed in July.

So when you hear the rosy numbers from the media trying to “educate” you into thinking their way, why not ask them-

“Can I have a graph with that?”

“I’d like a Graph with that.”

Fast Food Worker Photo

Graph Courtesy of Chad Moutray, Chief Economist at NAM.

6 thoughts on “Manufacturing Jobs: Separations vs. Hires

  1. Daryl Lucien says:

    If you’re going to rely on graphs to make your point, then use trend lines as an overlay. It’s only prudent. What you show above contradicts what what you wrote. Unless your legend is incorrect. What I see, without doing the calculations….red line would without a doubt trend up with a correlation over .50 using straight line. Light blue… slight down. Dark blue… slight down. What happens in the short term can totally contradict any trends.

    What is more curious…the underlying issues. Why would, as you say, separations be up, hires be down and the available jobs be so dramatically up? Clearing out dead wood? Unable to determine suitability? Are these jobs heavy in production tasking, admin, field operations? Sorry, but I just see data noise without explanations.

  2. speakingofprecision says:

    The post was not about long term trend, the post was about the current impact of the point in time. the long term trend is no comfort at all to the folks affected when as theis graph shows, all three indicators go the wrong waqy at once.
    Thanks for your feedback.

  3. Scot Abaray says:

    Understood, but what is the long term here ? 2, 4, 6 months ? I beliveve you tend to see these trends take place just prior to a presidential election. Companies are a bit on edge. In addition to this, and considering this is such a close election, both parties are anxious to use statistics to benefit themselves.

  4. speakingofprecision says:

    Thanks Scott. I have been blogging and posting graphs for almost two years now.
    I was just as “passionate ” about the last administration’s failure regarding China Currency manipulation-For even longer than that. I blogged about the current administration’s succesful WTO case regarding tires at that time of the announcement:

    Also their victory on Canadian bidding rules for government contracts:

    I do not deny that there is a presidential election coming up, but can assure you that a graph so compelling as this one would be posted on my blog regardless of to whom it might provide witness.
    Thanks for your comments and following us on WordPress.

  5. Eric Chodl says:

    Also keep in mind that BLS data is extremely extrapolated. The JOLTS only surveys 16,000 companies per month. Data within a 12 month period shows extremely large variation and is adjusted with each new monthly survey. The BLS does however have a proven track record of showing that every separate survey under jobs, employment, and unemployment begins to show the same trends when you start looking at 12 month averages and annual trends. A single month decline is only examining a trend on the scale of 32,000 companies.

  6. Eric Chodl says:

    That’s 16,000 total companies, manufacturing companies is only a fraction of that.

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