US manufacturing added 25,000 jobs in December, primarily in durable goods.
Makers of durable goods boosted payrolls by 21,000 jobs, according to a breakdown by industry sector released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jobs gains were widespread throughout durable goods. Major gainers included machinery (up 6000 jobs) and fabricated metal products (up 5400). The only durable goods category posting a job loss was furniture, down 700.
The December results capped off a year that saw manufacturing employment expand by 196,000 jobs, of which 130,000 was in durable goods industries. Manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs in 2016, the bureau said in a statement.
In 2015 and 2016, aerospace and the auto industry were the strongest job performers in manufacturing. During 2017, other industries picked up the pace of job generation.
Manufacturing totaled 12.539 million jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in December. That’s up from 12.514 million in November and 12.343 million in December 2016.
Total non-farm employment increased by 148,000 jobs last month, the bureau said in the statement. That was less than the 190,000 median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
The US unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.1%, the bureau said.
Manufacturing jobs peaked in June 1979 (19.6 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, 19.7 million unadjusted). That sank to a low of 11.45 million adjusted and 11.34 million unadjusted in February 2010 following a severe recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis.
Since that low, new manufacturing jobs have been created requiring increased skills because of increased automation and technology in factories.