Manufacturing added 13,000 jobs in January, with durable goods doing the heavy lifting.
Durable goods industries increased employment by 20,000 jobs last month while non-durable goods overall lost 7,000, according to a breakdown by industry sector issued today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job gainers included transportation equipment, up 3,600 jobs, fabricated metal products (up 3,000) and machinery (up 2,700). Job gains were widespread within durable goods categories. Within the transportation, motorized vehicle and parts posted an increase of just 700 jobs.
Deliveries of cars and light trucks have totaled more than 17 million each of the past four years. But analysts expect sales to slip below that mark this year.
General Motors Co. says five plants in the U.S. and Canada won’t be allocated products later this year, although U.S. factory workers will have the opportunity to transfer to other factories. Nevertheless, GM also is paring its salaried workforce. Ford Motor Co. also plans reductions in its salaried headcount but hasn’t released details.
Manufacturing totaled 12.822 million jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in January. That’s up from an adjusted 12.809 million the month before and 12.561 million in January 2018.
Jobless Rate Up
Non-farm payrolls increased by 304,000 jobs last month, the bureau said in a statement. That was better than the average forecast of 165,000 by economists surveyed by Reuters. The January figure was also higher than the average monthly increase of 223,000 in 2018.
The U.S. unemployment rate edged up to 4% last month from 3.9% in December. That reflected the impact of the partial U.S. government shutdown.
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.