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Factory Job Openings Surge in November to Highest Level Since 2001

YPSILANTI, MI- MARCH 15: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to auto workers at the American Center for Mobility March 15, 2017 in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Trump discussed his priorities of improving conditions to bolster the manufacturing industry and reduce the outsourcing of American jobs. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
JOHN CARNEY

Job openings at businesses making long-lasting consumer goods surged in November, suggesting tariffs and trade disputes are not hurting U.S. manufacturers.

Job openings in durable goods manufacturing rose to a seasonally adjusted 324,000, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That is an increase from 318,000 in October and the highest number since January of 2001.

Durable goods are products designed to last at least three years, such as autos, computers, and machinery.

Job openings in durable goods have been on the rise ever since the Trump administration began implementing tariffs on steel and aluminum, defying critics claims that they would take a serious toll on U.S. manufacturers. Openings have risen in six out of the eight months since the announcement. Tariffs on Mexico and Canada, the largest source of imported steel, went into effect in July. Openings have gone up every month since then.

A year prior, there were just 248,000 durable goods job openings. That means openings are up 30 percent in a year.

Maga Wand

Durable goods are thought to be the sector most exposed to a possible drag from the metals tariffs.

Job openings in non-durable manufacturing contracted a bit in November, from 187,000 in October to 169,000 in November. This means that the metals using manufacturers are actually outperforming other manufacturers.

Layoffs in the durable goods sector fell in November to a seasonally adjusted 70,000, a 0.9 percent layoff rate. That’s a decrease from 1 percent rate in October and significantly below the 1.2 percent layoff rate for the economy as a whole. Layoffs in non-durables remained steady at a 1 percent rate.

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