Amid Overall Gain, U.S. Manufacturing Loses Jobs

By John S. McClenahen The manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy continues to shed jobs, although the rate of job loss has slowed in recent months. Data from the U.S. Labor Department released Nov. 7 showed manufacturing losing another 24,000 jobs in October. However, "declines in the sector have moderated in recent months, particularly in durable goods manufacturing," notes Kathleen P. Utgoff, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the agency that compiles U.S. employment data. Jerry J. Jasinowski, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Manufacturers, echoes Utgoff's analysis. "Though we still lost 24,000 more manufacturing jobs [in October], losses in September and October averaged 26,000, or less than half the average [monthly] loss of 53,000 manufacturing jobs in the last year," he figures. Nationally, the BLS data released last Friday showed the unemployment rate falling to 6% in October from 6.1% in September as the U.S. economy added 126,000 jobs, roughly the same number as the revised figure for September. BLS revisions also showed the economy adding jobs in August. "The August-October gains in jobs were the first trio of consecutive employment increases in a year," points out UBS Investment Research, New York. "And other job indicators suggest that more hiring is imminent: jobless claims continued to decline after the October payroll survey week; temp employment rose again in October; the workweek is lengthening again and the ISM [Institute for Supply Management] employment gauges are trending higher."

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