The Global Manufacturer
January Employment 'Little Changed' -- Rut-Roh

January Employment 'Little Changed' -- Rut-Roh

When you see the phrase “little changed” in an employment situation report from the federal government, you know there is also little to celebrate.

With 10.2 million unemployed and 2.6 million who are “marginally attached” to the workforce (not in the labor force and had not looked for a job in the past month), the gain of 113,000 jobs in January reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will do little to spark the economy in a way that will boost consumer confidence and spending. That figure was well below the average employment growth of 194,000 per month in 2013.

But despite the weak overall numbers, manufacturers were hiring in January, a sign that forecasts of moderate growth in the sector for 2014 may still be on track. Here are the numbers:

21,000 – Number of manufacturing jobs added in January

7,000 – Average number of manufacturing jobs gained per month in 2013

34,000 – Number of jobs added to U.S. payrolls in revised figures for November and December

40.7 – Number of hours in the average manufacturing workweek, a decline in January of 0.2 hours

3.4 – Average factory overtime hours per employee, a decline of 0.1 hours in January

$811.90 – Average weekly earnings for a manufacturing employee, about a 2% rise from January 2013

12,075,000 – Number of people employed in manufacturing, a gain of 195,000 from January 2013

Concludes Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers: “[T]he manufacturing sector began the new year with strong momentum from the second half of last year. Manufacturers have noted a pickup in demand and production over the past six months, which have led to increase in hiring overall. In general, manufacturers have reflected cautious optimism for 2014, and the 15,000 additional workers added each month since July highlights much of this positivity.”

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