Manufacturing added 27,000 jobs in November, with both durable and non-durable goods industries contributing to the gain.
Durable goods sectors boosted employment by 15,000, led by transportation equipment with a 5,300-job increase. Non-durable goods added 12,000 jobs, paced by chemicals with a 5,800-job rise. The figures were included in a breakdown by industry issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The transportation equipment job increase occurred despite an 800-job loss in an important part of the category, motorized vehicle and parts.
U.S. sales of cars and light trucks have softened in 2018 from record highs earlier this decade. Still, Bob Carter, an executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American operations, said Thursday he still expects sales to total between 17.1 million and 17.2 million for the year. If that happens, it would be the fourth consecutive year at 17 million or more.
Vehicle deliveries are forecast to soften more in 2019. Carter said that Toyota expects sales to be below 17 million next year.
There’s also other uncertainty ahead. General Motors Co. said last week that three of its vehicle-assembly plants and two engine factories in North America won’t have product “allocated” by the end of 2019. That’s technically not a closing because that needs to be negotiated with unions in the U.S. and Canada. But GM made clear it wants to pare its factory network.
Other job gainers within durable goods included primary metals (up 2,800) and machinery (up 1,900). Job losers within durable goods were led by fabricated metal products, which cut 1,500.
Manufacturing totaled 12.807 million jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in November. That compares with an adjusted 12.78 million in October. The November figure also represented an increase of 288,000 jobs from November 2017’s 12.519 million.
Jobless Rate Steady
Total non-farm employment rose by 155,000 jobs last month, the bureau said in a statement. That was below the 200,000-job gain forecast by economists polled by Reuters. The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 3.7%, the lowest since 1969.
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.