Today’s strong jobs report shows manufacturers’ record optimism this year is continuing to translate into real job creation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that manufacturers added 24,000 workers in October, improving from a hurricane-related gain of just 6,000 in September. Note that the August and September data were revised upwardly in the latest figures, adding another 10,000 in total to what was estimated previously in those months. Through the first 10 months of 2017, manufacturing employment has risen by 13,800 on average per month—a definite improvement from the loss of 16,000 workers in 2016 as a whole and a sign that firms have stepped up their hiring as a result of a stronger economic outlook and increased demand and production activity. Indeed, since the end of the Great Recession, manufacturing employment has risen by 1,028,000 workers, with 12.48 million employees in the sector in this report.
We have also seen some upward pressure on wages. In this release, average weekly earnings for manufacturing workers rose from $1,090.18 in September to $1,097.57 in October, with that figure up 2.1 percent over the past 12 months. In addition, the average number of hours worked per week in the manufacturing sector edged up from 40.8 to 41.0, with average overtime hours shifting from 3.4 to 3.5 in this release.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said that manufacturing activity expanded robustly in October, even as it pulled back from September’s reading, which was the fastest pace since May 2004. The ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) decreased from 60.8 in September to 58.7 in October. The sample comments suggest that negative impacts from recent hurricanes explain at least part of October’s weaker reading. Nonetheless, the larger story remains one of strength, with business activity continuing to grow at healthy rates. For instance, indices for new orders (down from 64.6 to 63.4) and production (down from 62.2 to 61.0) exceeded 60—a threshold which would signify a vigorous expansion in demand and output in the sector—for the fifth consecutive month. Read More
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturers lost 1,000 workers in September, with the overall jobs numbers negatively impacts by damaging hurricanes in the month. In addition, the July and August data were also revised lower, subtracting 32,000 from prior manufacturing job growth estimates. Despite the disappointing figures in September, the reduced hiring is likely a temporary phenomenon, with employment expectations continuing to be very strong overall. Indeed, manufacturers have accelerated the pace of hiring since December, adding 122,000 workers on net over that 10-month time frame. That is a definite improvement following the loss of 16,000 workers seen in 2016 as a whole and a sign that firms have stepped up their hiring as a result of a stronger economic outlook and increased demand and production activity. Indeed, since the end of the Great Recession, manufacturing employment has risen by nearly one million workers, with 12.45 million employees in the sector in this report.
On this Manufacturing Day, it is important to remember that the ability to attract and retain a quality workforce is in a virtual tie for first place as one of the top challenges for manufacturers, according to the latest NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey. As the labor market has tightened, workforce development challenges have become more pressing for business leaders in the sector. In addition, we have also seen some upward pressure on wages. In this release, average weekly earnings for manufacturing workers rose from $1,080.99 in August to $1,085.88 in September, with that figure up 2.0 percent over the past 12 months. Read More
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturers added 36,000 net new workers in August, its fastest monthly gain in five years and increasing for the third consecutive month. In addition, the June and July data were revised higher, increasing employment in the sector by a total of 19,000 more than originally estimated. As such, manufacturing was a bright spot in the latest jobs data—a sign that the sector has rebounded from global headwinds over the past two years.
Indeed, over the past nine months, manufacturing employment has risen by 155,000, averaging 17,222 per month. That is a definite improvement following the loss of 16,000 workers on net for 2016. Moreover, total manufacturing employment rose to 12.48 million, rising by 1.03 million since the Great Recession and its highest level since January 2009.
According to ADP, after slightly declining by 1,000 in July, manufacturing employment rebounded in August, with the sector adding 16,000 net new workers for the month. This was the fastest pace since March, and since November, manufacturers have increased their workforce by an average of nearly 14,650 per month. That continues to represent a turnaround relative to one year ago, with manufacturing employment down by 19,000 in August 2016 and hiring flat for 2016 as a whole. We hope this bodes well for continued job growth moving forward. Read More
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that manufacturers added 16,000 net new workers in July, extending the gain of 12,000 workers June. (June was estimated originally to be a gain of just 1,000 workers, and the May data were also revised from a decline of 2,000 to 0.) The July increase in manufacturing was the fastest since February, and the sector has now increased employment in seven of the past eight months. Over that eight-month span (since November), manufacturers have averaged 12,500 new jobs per month—definite improvement from the loss of 16,000 workers on net in 2016. In July, there were 12,425,000 manufacturing workers. At the same time, average weekly earnings for manufacturing workers rose from $1,086.30 in June to $1,092.03 in July, up 2.8 percent over the past 12 months from $1,062.02.
In another sign that manufacturing jobs are on the rise, Toyota announced today that it will build a $1.6 billion U.S. assembly plant to develop electronic vehicle technologies. The plant opening in 2021 will produce up to 300,000 vehicles per year and employ 4,000 manufacturing workers. Read More
ADP reported that manufacturing employment declined by 4,000 in July, declining for the first time since November. Overall, the sector has added 98,000 net new workers year-to-date. Despite the weaker data in this report, manufacturers have noted better employment growth this year than last, with employers accelerating their hiring in light of stronger activity and sentiment. In contrast, hiring in 2016 was flat for the year as a whole. With that in mind, we are hopeful that the trend of stronger job growth returns in the coming months.
Meanwhile, total private employment increased by 178,000 in July, pulling back somewhat from the 191,000 workers added in June but mostly in-line with consensus expectations. Nonfarm private payrolls have risen by 217,458 per month on average, which was notably higher than the 179,327 workers added each month in the second half of 2016. As such, the labor market has strengthened year-to-date, which is promising. The largest employment growth in July included professional and business services (up 65,000), education and health services (up 43,000), trade, transportation and utilities (up 24,000), leisure and hospitality (up 15,000) and financial activities (up 13,000). Small and medium-sized businesses (i.e., those with fewer than 500 employees) accounted for nearly three-quarters of all net new workers in July. Read More
Manufacturing employment edged up by 1,000 in June, stabilizing a little after declining by 2,000 in May. On the positive side, it was the sixth increase in net hiring in the past seven months, with the sector adding 71,000 workers over that time frame. That stands in sharp contrast to the loss of 16,000 workers for all of 2016, and overall, the data suggest an increased willingness among manufacturers to add new workers since November. Yet, job growth in May and June in the manufacturing sector has been underwhelming, especially when compared to sentiment surveys—such as the one from Institute for Supply Management released earlier in the week—that have indicated relatively healthy expansions in employment. With that in mind, I would continue to expect better job gains moving forward, particularly given the improved demand and production outlook and stronger economic growth globally.
In June, the underlying manufacturing data were mixed. Employment among durable goods firms rose by 9,000 for the month, but this was nearly offset by a decline of 8,000 jobs for nondurable goods businesses. It was the second straight month with declines in nondurable goods employment growth, led by weaknesses in food manufacturing (down 3,300), paper and paper products (down 2,800) and apparel (down 1,000) in this release. In addition, motor vehicles and parts (down 1,300) has also continued to struggle on softer-than-desired sales year to date. Perhaps notably, employment in the food sector rose in non-seasonally adjusted data, so perhaps its decline could reflect those seasonal adjustments. Indeed, over the past 12 months, food manufacturing notched the fastest job growth in the sector, adding 28,300 since June 2016. Read More