March 29, 2022

According to the latest government data, 22,000 people quit their durable goods manufacturing jobs last month, a 13.3% increase over the previous month.

Ryan Secard

The private economy remains troubled by competition for talent, and the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Labor pose concerns for manufacturers looking to keep their workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover report for February, the manufacturing sector currently lags behind the rest of the private economy in hiring and beats it in workers leaving their jobs.

The latest JOLT report, released on March 29, shows the hire rate for the overall economy mostly unchanged, with manufacturing lagging slightly behind. Total hires in the overall economy rose 4.1% to 6,689,000 people while manufacturing hires rose 3.8% to 482,000.

Potentially more concerning for manufacturers, though, are the relative rates of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs: in the overall economy, quits rose by 2.2%, but in manufacturing, they increased by 7%. Durable goods manufacturing, in particular, stood out: Quits in that sector rose a striking 13.3% as 22,000 people willingly left their jobs. Nondurable goods manufacturing, in contrast, saw quits remain flat.

Durable-goods employment is the largest division of manufacturing by workers, employing about 7.8 million workers to nondurable’s 4.7 million, according to the Bureau’s latest data. It’s also the better-paying sector, as the average durable goods manufacturing employee makes about $31.94 an hour, compared to $27.84 an hour in nondurable goods manufacturing. The average private employee, according to the BLS, makes about $31.58 an hour.