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November Jobs Report Shows Challenges Remain for Manufacturers

By | General, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

We have seen a steady stream of good economic numbers in the past few weeks, including today’s jobs numbers. First and foremost, the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, its lowest level since August 2007. At the same time, nonfarm payrolls rose by 178,000, which was on par with the consensus estimate of around 180,000. Overall, this mirrors healthier figures for consumer spending and improved business sentiment in recent data, and these reports show that the U.S. economy has strengthened. This should help cement a Federal Reserve rate hike at their upcoming meeting on December 13-14.

Despite these positives, manufacturers have continued to struggle, as evidenced by the loss of 4,000 workers in November, with 60,000 fewer workers on net year-to-date. It was the fourth straight monthly decline for employment in the sector. Moving forward, manufacturing leaders are cautiously optimistic about demand and production for 2017, and we would expect that this increase in activity would lead to additional hiring.

With that said, it’s clear the incoming administration, which has touted manufacturing as a top priority, has its work cut out for it.  Manufacturers look forward to working with the next Administration and Congress to enact policies – from infrastructure, to comprehensive tax reform – that will help spur America’s manufacturing economy.  To this end, as an extension of the NAM’s Competing to Win policy platform, the NAM will be releasing individual policy white papers in the coming weeks.  Each white paper will focus on a specific policy priority that manufacturers urge the incoming presidential administration and Congress to focus on and will be send to the respective transition teams.

There are also things the current Congress/administration can do to help grow jobs including take action to restore the Ex-Im Bank to full functionality.  As long as Ex-Im cannot fully operate, manufacturers in the U.S. will continue to lose manufacturing jobs to our foreign competitors.

Decline in Manufacturing Jobs Should be a Wakeup Call for Washington

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

The latest jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are in, and while the broader jobs numbers increased, jobs in the manufacturing sector fell for the third straight month, declining by 9,000—losing 62,000 workers year to date. Not only does this suggest that manufacturers continue to exercise caution in their business practices, but it points to the fact that continued challenges, including the failure to move on critical pro-manufacturing policies in Washington, are having a severe impact on the nation’s most innovative sector.

Unfortunately, throughout this election cycle, isolationist and incendiary rhetoric have continued to harm manufacturing workers and their families by perpetuating myths about pro-growth policies like free trade. For their part, manufacturers will continue to stress the policies that will enable faster economic growth and enhance the sector’s overall global competitiveness.

ADP: Manufacturing Employment Edged Lower in October

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

ADP said that manufacturing employment edged lower in October, with hiring in the sector down in eight of the ten months so far this year. In October, there were 1,000 fewer workers on net for manufacturers, which continue to be challenged by global headwinds and economic anxieties. Overall, employment in the sector is down by 38,000 year-to-date. This suggests that manufacturers remain wary about adding to their workforce, particularly with sluggish growth in demand and production. Yet, job openings have been more favorable of late, which could indicate better hiring growth moving forward when manufacturers become less cautious. Read More

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September Manufacturing Job Market Numbers Disappointed Again

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

For the second straight month, manufacturing employment fell, which was disappointing. Given the rebound in sentiment and activity seen in other measures, there was some hope that job growth might stabilize in this report. Instead, manufacturers lost 13,000 workers on net in September, extending the loss of 16,000 employees in August. More importantly, manufacturing employment has decreased by 58,000 year-to-date, suggesting continuing cautiousness among manufacturing business leaders to add workers in light of lingering weaknesses in the global economy.

On this Manufacturing Day, that message is a bittersweet one. We were encouraged by the rebound in demand and production seen in Monday’s ISM figures, and there is some expectation that activity will pick up in the coming months. Yet, these figures suggest a degree of nervousness in the economic outlook, with job growth in manufacturing continuing to lag behind.

With that in mind – and especially with the election just weeks away – manufacturers will continue to stress pro-growth policies that will enable faster economic growth and enhance the sector’s overall global competitiveness. Read More

employment

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

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

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

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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

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The June Jobs Numbers Provided Mixed News on the Labor Market

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics | No Comments

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.