Throwing a bit of a damper on today's Manufacturing Day proceedings, the monthly jobs report issued this morning by the Labor Department shows that the U.S. manufacturing sector posted a disappointing net gain of 4,000 jobs during September.
Continuing a recent trend, September's job growth in the durable goods sectors outperformed that of the nondurable goods sectors. Durables posted a net total of 7,000 jobs gained, nondurables a net 3,000 jobs lost.
And continuing another recent trend, within durables, the Motor Vehicles & Parts subsector continued to lead the way with 3,300 net jobs gained.
|MANUFACTURING EMPLOYMENT BY SECTOR (Thousands of Jobs)|
|Aug '14||Sept '14||Change|
|Manufacturing - Total||12,150.0||12,154.0||4.0|
|Durable Goods - Total||7,689.0||7,696.0||7.0|
|Nonmetallic Mineral Products||388.3||389.1||0.8|
|Fabricated Metal Products||1,457.0||1,459.0||2.0|
|Computer & Electronic Products||1,056.7||1,056.3||-0.4|
|►Computer & Peripheral Equipment||169.0||168.7||-0.3|
|►Semiconductors & Electronic Components||366.2||365.6||-0.6|
|Electrical Equipment & Appliances||374.5||373.4||-1.1|
|►Motor Vehicles & Parts||870.6||873.9||3.3|
|Furniture & Related Products||370.9||372.3||1.4|
|Miscellaneous Durable Goods||579.3||580.8||1.5|
|Nondurable Goods - Total||4,461.0||4,458.0||-3.0|
|Textile Product Mills||112.8||112.2||-0.6|
|Paper & Paper Products||372.9||371.5||-1.4|
|Printing & Related Support Activities||439.4||439.7||0.3|
|Petroleum & Coal Products||114.0||113.6||-0.4|
|Plastics & Rubber Products||662.4||661.6||-0.8|
|Miscellaneous Nondurable Goods||235.5||235.2||-0.3|
|Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics|
Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said the last two months' data confirm that job gains in the manufacturing sector have stalled "at least temporarily."
"Numbers like these are a blow to the president's goal of 1 million new manufacturing jobs in his second term," Paul said. "A large and persistent trade deficit and a paucity of investment in infrastructure are two obstacles that stand in the way of actual progress."
Chad Moutray, chief economist with the National Association of Manufacturers, agreed that the monthly job figures are disappointing, noting that manufacturing employment growth was "well below expectations for both August and September."
Nonetheless, Moutray said, U.S. manufacturers remain optimistic about demand and production: "Recent data on hiring plans would seem to indicate stronger job growth that what these figures show. Hopefully, we will begin to see healthier employment gains in the coming months."
Alan Tonelson, research fellow with the U.S. Business and Industry Council, said the monthly report indicates that the manufacturing sector has "cemented its status as a major job-creation laggard during the current recovery."
Tonelson said that since 2010, when manufacturing employment bottomed out, "the sector has created only 701,000 of the 9.78 million nonfarm jobs created during this period—7.15%. And whereas total non-farm employment now exceeds its pre-recession level by 1.08 million, manufacturing has regained only 30.57% of the 2.293 million jobs it lost during the downturn."