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Manufacturing Added 365,000 Jobs in June, Department of Labor Reports

July 2, 2020
Employment in the sector is still down by 757,000 since February despite the beginnings of recovery.

According to the latest employment situation report released by the Department of Labor, total nonfarm employment in the United States rose by 4.8 million in June and the unemployment rate fell 2.2 points to 11.1%. Manufacturing added 356,000 new jobs, mostly in durable goods. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the reopening of the economy after quarantine orders were allowed to expire in April and May contributed to the influx.

Troublingly, though, the report, based on two surveys distributed during the second week of June, could not take into consideration more recent economic actions made by states seeing dramatically spiking cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks.

In manufacturing, jobs in durable manufacturing making motor vehicles and parts saw gains of 196,000, constituting almost two-thirds of manufacturing jobs gained in June. Miscellaneous durable good manufacturing and machinery accounted for 26,000 and 18,000 new jobs, respectively. The best-performing division of nondurable manufacturing, plastics and rubber products, saw 22,000 new jobs.

The transportation and warehousing sector saw an increase of 99,000 jobs in June after losses in April and May. The best-performing sector, leisure and hospitality, added 2.1 million new jobs after losing millions more to COVID-19 related lack of demand and closings.

Although the Bureau’s report shows an economy on the path to recovery, its analysis does not include data from the second half of June, when multiple states began reporting disturbing new spikes in the rate of new COVID-19 cases. Johns Hopkins University of Medicine reports that July 1 was a new all-time high in the number of positive tests in one day, with 45,690 testing positive for the virus on that day alone.

Another worrying feature of the jobs market is the rate of initial unemployment claims. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits skyrocketed in March to more than 6 million people. That number has fallen for each successive week, but the rate at which it is slowing is slowing itself. Earlier figures from April and May showed the number of new applicants dropping by roughly a million per week, but on July 2, the Department of Labor said that 1,427,000 people applied for unemployment benefits during the week of June 27, a drop of only 55,000 from the revised number for the week previous.

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