US manufacturers added 36,000 jobs in August paced by makers of durable goods, especially motorized vehicles and parts. It was the best manufacturing job performance of 2017.
Durable goods industries boosted employment by 28,000 jobs, according a breakdown by sector issued today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Vehicle and parts production led the way, adding 13,700 jobs, as output geared up following seasonal shutdowns earlier in the summer. US light vehicle sales declined 2.9% for the first seven months of 2017, according to Autodata Corp. Deliveries totaled a record 17.55 million last year. Automakers are scheduled to report August vehicle sales today.
Other job gainers included fabricated metal products (up 5200 jobs), computers and related equipment (up 3000) and machinery (1700). The only two durable goods categories posting job losses were miscellaneous manufacturing (down 400 jobs) and communications equipment (down 200).
Manufacturing totaled 12.48 million on a seasonally adjusted basis last month. That’s up from an adjusted 12.444 million in July and 12.342 million in August 2016.
Unemployment Rate Rises
Non-farm employment increased by 156,000 jobs in August, the bureau said in a statement. That was below the 180,000 average forecast of economists surveyed by Reuters. The US unemployment rose to 4.4% from 4.3% in July.
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.