MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
August job openings jump 7.7 percent to 9.6 million vs. 6.4 unemployed
The number of U.S. job openings surprised to the upside in August, increasing 7.7% to 9.6 million on the last business day of the month. The number of officially unemployed persons rose 8.8% in August to approach 6.4 million, while the number of persons not in the labor force fell 0.5% to 99.4 million. The overhang of open jobs vs. the officially unemployed rose 5.7% to 3.2 million. But due to the larger rise in unemployed persons, the ratio of 1.51 open jobs per employed person fell from 1.53 in July.
September manufacturing sector index rises 1.4 points to 49.0
The Manufacturing PMI® registered 49 percent in September, 1.4 percentage points higher than the 47.6 percent recorded in August. The overall economy expanded weakly after nine months of contraction following a 30-month period of expansion. Companies are still managing outputs appropriately as order softness continues, but the month-over-month PMI® improvement in September is a clear positive. Panelists’ companies improved production compared to August and continued to manage head counts, primarily through attrition and hiring freezes.
September services sector index falls 0.9 points to 53.6
In September, the Services PMI® registered 53.6 percent, 0.9 percentage point lower than August’s reading of 54.5 percent. The index is in expansion (or “slowing”) territory for the first time since November 2022, when it registered 53.8 percent. Still, the average reading of 48.1 percent in the last seven months (with a low of 45.8 percent in March) reflects the fastest supplier delivery performance since June 2009. The majority of respondents remain positive about business conditions; moreover, some respondents indicated concern about potential headwinds.