Manufacturing employment fell by 16,000 in September, the second month in a row employment in the sector dropped.
Overall, the unemployment rate improved to 7.8%, the Labor Department reported, with 114,000 workers added to payrolls. Employment rose in health care, transportation and warehousing. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 456,000 in September to 12.1 million.
Including September’s losses, manufacturing employment has had no net change since April. Job losses in manufacturing were led by computer and electronics products (-6,000) and in printing and related activities (-3,000).
With foreign demand drying up and businesses reluctant to boost capital expenditure, “manufacturing is no longer the job generator it once was,” said Chris Jones, an economist with TD Economics. “While we don’t expect the pace of job losses to be sustained, the days of robust manufacturing payrolls growth are likely behind us.”
Some 11,942,000 people are employed in manufacturing in the U.S., 94,000 more than in September 2011.
Nonfarm employment figures were revised up for both July (+141,000 to +181,000) and August (+96,000 to +142,000).
“With a gain of 114,000 jobs in September and an upward revision for August, this economy remains on a slow but not slowing growth path,” said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis for the Conference Board. “More demand would help, as would fewer ill winds blowing in from a contracting Europe and slower emerging markets. More certainty on taxes post-election would also help.”