This Morning in Metals: Job openings hit record high 9.3 million in April

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This morning in metals news: as the U.S. economy reopened, job openings hit a record high in April; meanwhile, steel prices continue to rise; and, lastly, emissions from the electric power sector have declined as it has shifted from coal to natural gas.

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Job openings hit record high in April

job openings

mvcaspel/Adobe Stock

U.S job openings reached a record high of 9.3 million on the last business day of April, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

Hires, meanwhile, reached 6.1 million, little changed from the previous month.

“Total separations increased to 5.8 million,” the Census Bureau added. “Within separations, the quits rate reached a series high of 2.7 percent while the layoffs and discharges rate decreased to a series low of 1.0 percent.”

In durable goods manufacturing, separations increased by 7,000.

Steel prices continue rise

While buyers continue to wait for that much-desired peak in commodities prices, steel prices continue to rise.

The U.S. hot rolled coil price closed Tuesday at $1,585 per short ton, or up 8.86% month over month. Meanwhile, the U.S. hot dipped galvanized price reached $1,911 per short ton, or up 7.97% month over month.

Cold rolled coil closed at $1,782 per short ton, up 8.33% month over month.

Electric power generation emissions fall

Emissions from the electric power generation sector have declined over the past 15 years, the Energy Information Administration reported.

“Over the past 15 years, the U.S. electricity generation mix has shifted away from coal and toward natural gas and renewables, resulting in lower CO2 emissions from electricity generation,” the EIA reported. “In 2019, the U.S. electric power sector produced 1,724 million metric tons (MMmt) of CO2, 32% less than the 2,544 MMmt produced in 2005.

“Lower CO2 emissions have largely been a result of a shift from coal to natural gas in the electricity generation mix. In 2005, coal made up 50% of U.S. electricity generation; that share declined to 23% in 2019. Conversely, natural gas increased from 19% of total generation in 2005 to 38% in 2019.”

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