New jobs and factory data suggest the US economy remained resilient in recent months, most notably with manufacturing activity stronger than consensus expectations.

Job openings fell to 11.4mn in April from an upwardly revised record high of almost 11.9mn in March, according to a Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report released Wednesday.

The number, which aligned with expectations from economists polled by Reuters, showed there were 1.9 job vacancies for every employed person. Labour demand is strong at that ratio, which often drives up wages for employers looking to hire.

The number of “quits” — Americans leaving jobs voluntarily — was little changed at 4.4mn, leaving it near the record high level hit in March and left the so-called quits rate at about 2.9 per cent. A high quits rate signals that workers feel comfortable leaving their current jobs for better working conditions and pay elsewhere.

Activity in the manufacturing sector picked up in May, according to data from the Institute for Supply Management. The ISM’s index tracking industry came in at 56.1 in May, up from 55.4 in April and beating economists’ expectations for a decline to 54.5. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Demand in the manufacturing sector grew, with an acceleration in new export orders, and the backlog of orders increasing. Customer inventories also grew in May, but remained at relatively low levels because of supply chain challenges.

The labour market in manufacturing was tight. The Jolts report said job openings for transportation, warehousing, and utilities grew the most, and the ISM said its factory employment index fell to 49.6 from 50.9 in April.

By 4difm

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