According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the manufacturing sector added 25,000 net new workers in December, its strongest monthly gain since March. This stands in contrast to the ADP figures released yesterday, which have found six straight months of declining manufacturing employment. The official government data reflect a more-positive uptick for the sector.
Over the course of 2012, manufacturers hired an additional 180,000 workers on net, or 10 percent of all nonfarm payroll jobs created this year, the majority of which were created in the first half of 2012. This was slower growth than we had hoped to see, clearly the fiscal cliff and other uncertainties had an impact in the second half of the year.
Looking more specifically at the December manufacturing employment numbers, durable and nondurable goods sectors added 11,000 and 14,000 workers, respectively. Most of these gains can be largely contributed to rebuilding after Sandy as construction jobs also saw an increase of 30,000.
The largest gains were seen in the motor vehicle and parts (up 4,800), food manufacturing (up 4,500), chemicals (up 4,300), nonmetallic mineral products (up 3,500), plastics and rubber products (up 2,100), and machinery (up 2,000) businesses.
Even with this uptick in December several areas of weakness were found in manufacturing. We saw losses in electrical equipment and appliances (down 2,100), fabricated metal products (down 700), paper and paper products (down 500), apparel (down 400), and furniture and related products (down 400). (continue reading…)