Job creation in manufacturing accelerated to start the spring, as both job vacancies and hires hit the highest marks of the recovery.
Manufacturing job openings rose to 394,000 in March, the Department of Labor reported Tuesday, matching the highest level since April of 2006.
And actual hiring in the manufacturing sector jumped to 322,000, a level not seen since the early months of the recession, when manufacturing hiring fell off a cliff. Monthly hires were up nearly a quarter since last March.
The good news about manufacturing came in the agency's release of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, which contained other encouraging data as well. Overall job openings edged up from 5.68 million to 5.74 million in March, according to the report, in line with expectations.
The ratio of unemployed workers for each job opening, an important metric of labor market health, fell to 1.25, the lowest since January of 2001. During the worst of the recession, there were more than six unemployed workers for each advertised job, a sign of how hard jobs were to find for people who were laid off.
Tuesday's report includes figures about gross job creation, hiring, and layoffs that are not available in the monthly jobs report. The high level of detail makes it valuable to government officials and investors, even though it is released on a lag of month from the more widely noted jobs report.
The news will be welcome to the Trump administration. President Trump has prioritized manufacturing jobs. In the first month of his tenure, he launched a manufacturing jobs initiative involving business CEOs, and last month he signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order intended to promote U.S. manufacturers.