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Manufacturing Employment Declined Again in August

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

In another sign that manufacturing in the United States remains weaker-than-desired despite some signs of recent progress, employment in the sector fell once again in August. Manufacturers hired 14,000 fewer workers on net in August, and the job gains for the prior two months were revised down by a combined 10,000. All in all, manufacturing employment has fallen by 39,000 year-to-date through August, suggesting continuing cautiousness among manufacturing business leaders to add workers in light of lingering weaknesses in the global economy. It is hard not to be disappointed by these numbers, particularly when combined with yesterday’s ISM data, which found that overall manufacturing activity contracted for the first time since February.

Durable goods firms shed 16,000 workers in August, with nondurable goods manufacturers adding 2,000 jobs for the month. Of the 19 major sectors in manufacturing, all but four had reduced employment in August. The largest declines were seen in the transportation equipment (down 6,400, including a 5,600 decline for motor vehicles and parts), primary metals (down 2,500) and nonmetallic mineral products (down 1,400). In contrast, there were employment gains in August for food manufacturing (up 4,500), paper and paper products (up 700), machinery (up 500) and petroleum and coal products (up 400). Read More

ADP: Manufacturing Employment Was Unchanged in August

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ADP said that manufacturing employment was unchanged in August after rising in July for the first time in six months. Overall, hiring in the sector has been challenged so far this year, with employment down by 33,000 workers through the first eight months of 2016. This suggests that manufacturers have been wary about adding to their workforce in light of ongoing global headwinds and sluggish growth in demand and production. Recent data have suggested some improvements in activity for U.S. manufacturers, and hopefully, this will translate into increased hiring moving forward for the sector. Read More

Timmons: Isolationist Rhetoric Won’t Create More Manufacturing Jobs, but the Right Policies Will

By | Economy, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

PullQuote-JayJobs-080520162

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July jobs numbers:  

“While numbers continue to improve, the fact is that our economy remains nowhere near its full potential. To grow jobs in America, manufacturers need their products sold to more markets. Isolationist rhetoric will not help grow manufacturing jobs in the United States, but the right policies will. Manufacturers have outlined an agenda that will help put our sector—and ultimately the entire U.S. economy—on a path toward continued growth and good-paying jobs, which includes market-opening free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

“Whether it’s because of misguided analysis or political expediency, both major party candidates in this presidential election continue to do manufacturing a disservice by perpetuating myths about free trade. It’s time to stop undermining the ability of manufacturers in the United States to compete and win through trade and embrace policies like TPP that are going to put our nation back in the driver’s seat and ensure success for our economy.”

employment

The July Jobs Numbers Were Relatively Strong for the Second Straight Month

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

For the second straight month, job numbers in the U.S. economy were relatively strong, with each above the consensus estimate. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 255,000 in July, extending the gain of 292,000 seen in June. As a result, the country has averaged 273,500 net new workers over the past two months, a decent jump over the 151,000 average seen over the first five months of 2016. This suggests that employers have begun to hire again despite continued cautiousness and lingering weaknesses in the global macroeconomy. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent. Yet, the so-called real unemployment rate – which includes discouraged workers, the underemployed and those working part-time for economic reasons – increased from 9.6 percent to 9.7 percent.

In the manufacturing sector, employers added 9,000 workers in July. This followed an increase of 15,000 in June, and like the nonfarm payroll numbers, it was an encouraging sign. With that said, manufacturing employment has declined by 15,000 on net year-to-date, suggesting that softness in demand and production in the sector have dampened hiring activity of late. Hopefully, employment growth for manufacturers continues to tick higher moving forward – something that is likely to happen if the sector continues to stabilize. Since the end of the Great Recession, manufacturers have added 852,000 workers. Read More

jobs

The June Jobs Numbers Provided Mixed News on the Labor Market

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The June jobs numbers provided mixed news on the labor market, but more than anything, they suggest that the U.S. economy remains much weaker than desired, particularly for manufacturing. On the positive side, manufacturers added 14,000 workers in June, which was encouraging. Yet, the sector has lost 24,000 employees through the first six months of 2016 – a sign that business leaders remain cautious in light of global headwinds and soft demand and production growth.

Likewise, the strong nonfarm payroll number for June, up by 287,000, would be more promising if not for the downward revision to May, up by just 11,000 instead of the originally reported figure of 38,000. Indeed, it is clear that nonfarm payroll growth has eased year-to-date. The U.S. economy averaged 147,333 additional nonfarm payroll workers in the second quarter, slowing from the 282,000 and 195,667 average paces seen in the fourth quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of this year. Along those lines, the unemployment rate rose from 4.7 percent in May to 4.9 percent in June, largely on an uptick in the participation rate from 62.6 percent to 62.7 percent. Read More

Timmons: May Jobs Numbers “Pathetic”

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main, Trade | No Comments

Timmons Statement on Jobs Numbers

National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons issued the following statement on the disappointing Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs report, which showed the slowest monthly jobs gain since September 2010:

“The latest jobs report is pathetic. It is a vivid example of why we need the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) now. The report is a wakeup call for anyone who thinks we are on solid economic ground. Policymakers in Washington can’t fix every problem, but they can certainly take action to give manufacturing—and the larger economy—a boost. The TPP will allow manufacturers to sell products we make here in the United States to millions of new customers overseas, and we will hire people to make those products. Congress and the Obama administration need to work together to get this deal done.

“Manufacturers, and almost all employers for that matter, are holding back on hiring because they lack confidence in the ability of Congress and the administration to put aside partisan differences to do what is in the best interest of America’s future. In May, we also saw too few Americans go back to work—and too many give up and leave the workforce altogether because they have given up on the American Dream.

“Pro-growth trade policy, coupled with comprehensive tax reform, regulatory reform and other items on manufacturers’ agenda will empower our country to compete and win in the global economy—creating jobs and providing inspiration for those who clearly need it.

“The presidential candidates and all candidates for the House and Senate need to explain exactly what they will do to enact these commonsense economic measures outlined in ‘Competing to Win.’ Getting this agenda accomplished is the only way to reverse the malaise we are experiencing in our country and put us on the road to success again.”

Read the original press release here.

ADP: Manufacturing Employment Declined for the Fourth Straight Month

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ADP said that manufacturing employment declined for the fourth straight month in May, with the sector losing 3,000 workers for the month and 23,000 employees on net year-to-date. Moreover, hiring has been stagnant over the past 12 months, with no change between the May 2015 and May 2016 levels of 12,311,000. Recent data have suggested some improvements in activity for U.S. manufacturers, but that has not yet translated into more job creation. Indeed, business leaders remain cautious about adding to their workforce with still-significant challenges to demand and production growth. Read More

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Manufacturing Employment Pulled Back Again in February

By | Economy, General, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The economy remains a mixed bag for manufacturers, with job numbers drawing back for the second month this year.  The numbers indicate obstacles still stand in the way of unleashing the economic potential of the manufacturing sector.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that manufacturing employment declined by 16,000 in February, somewhat offsetting the 23,000-worker increase observed in January.  In addition, data revisions subtracted another 13,000 workers from the December and January original estimates. As such, manufacturers have added just 7,000 net new workers year-to-date through the first two months of 2016, a sluggish pace that speaks to the ongoing challenges seen in the sector from the strong U.S. dollar and falling commodity prices. Read More

Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Waned in February

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The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment waned again in February, with Americans nervous in their economic outlook. The Consumer Confidence Index dropped from 97.8 in January to 92.2 in February, its lowest level in seven months. Since June of last year, these data have been highly volatile, ranging from a low of 91.0 in July to 102.6 in September, with the latter being the second-highest reading since the recession. (The index peaked at a post-recessionary high of 103.8 in January 2015.) The high degree of change from month-to-month indicates just how anxious the public is right now, with recent financial market volatility likely dampening perceptions in this report. In February, consumers were less upbeat in their assessments of the current (down from 85.3 to 78.9) and future (down from 116.6 to 112.1) economy.

Respondents to this survey are often swayed by pocketbook issues, including worries about labor market prospects, and this release is no different. The percentage of those completing the survey suggesting that jobs were “plentiful” declined from 23.0 percent to 22.1 percent, with those saying that jobs were “hard to get” rising from 23.6 percent to 24.2 percent. In a similar fashion, the percent expecting their incomes to increase in the coming months decreased from 18.6 percent to 17.2 percent, with those predicting declining incomes increasing from 10.7 percent to 12.5 percent.

jobs

January Jobs Numbers Offer Bit of Encouragement for Manufacturers

By | Economy, General, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

The latest data on manufacturing employment provides a bit of encouragement for manufacturers that have been beleaguered by the global slowdown and pullbacks in the energy sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturing employment rose by 29,000 in January, much stronger than expected at the start of the new year. It was the fourth consecutive monthly job gain and the strongest since November 2014, when manufacturing demand and production were growing more robustly than seen today. There are currently 12.36 million workers in the sector, with manufactures adding 903,000 more employees since the Great Recession. At the same time, it is important to note that employment growth has been quite soft for much of the past year, with the sector adding just 33,000 workers in 2015. Read More