Manufacturing posted a gain of 17,000 jobs in June, with durable goods accounting for the bulk of the increase. The result represented a rebound from four consecutive months of small gains or job losses.
Within durable goods, makers computers and related equipment added 6,500 jobs. Other gainers included machinery, up 4,400, and miscellaneous manufacturing, up 1,800.
Transportation equipment, a key sector, was mixed. Transportation had a total gain of 1,100 jobs. But motorized vehicle and parts saw a loss of 200 jobs.
For manufacturing, June marked the best jobs performance since January. The sector also added 17,000 jobs that month. For the first half of the year, manufacturing added 45,000 jobs. That compares with an increase of 142,000 in the first half of 2018. That was part of a manufacturing job gain of 264,000 for all of 2018.
Manufacturing totaled 12.854 million jobs for June, That was up from an adjusted 12,837 million in May. It was below the June 2018 level of 12,867 million.
Total non-farm employment advanced by 224,000 jobs, the bureau said in a statement. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected an increase of 160,000 jobs. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent, up from 3.6 percent in May.
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.