Manufacturing added 16,000 jobs in July with makers of motor vehicles and parts leading the way.
The vehicle sector boosted employment by 7,200 jobs, according to a breakdown by industry sector released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was part of an overall job gain of 9,500 jobs in transportation equipment.
The job surge comes amid softening U.S. deliveries of cars and light trucks. The industry recorded four consecutive years with sales of 17 million or more. The vehicle market also is restructuring, with demand for trucks, SUVs and crossovers remaining relatively high while sales of sedans plunge.
July represented the second straight month of strong manufacturing job expansion following slow growth during the first part of 2019. Manufacturing added a revised 12,000 jobs in June.
In July, durable goods overall posted a gain of 12,000 jobs. Other industries with employment increases included computers and electronic products, up 2,600, and furniture, up 2,000.
The main job loser in durable goods was machinery, down 3,600.
Even with the strong numbers for July, job growth in manufacturing lags 2018’s pace. Manufacturing added 55,000 jobs for the first seven months of 2019, compared with 162,000 for the same period last year.
Manufacturing totaled 12.864 million in July on a seasonally adjusted basis. That’s up from an adjusted 12.848 million in June and 12.707 million in July 2018.
Total non-farm employment rose by 164,000 in July, the bureau said in a statement. That was near forecasts by economists. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7 percent, near a 50-year low.
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.