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Unemployment Rate Hits 6.9% As Manufacturing Adds 38,000 Jobs

Nov. 6, 2020
Manufacturing still employs 621,000 fewer people than it did in February, according to the Department of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. jobs market continued to improve in October. The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported November 6 that the U.S. economy added 638,000 new nonfarm jobs and the unemployment rate fell a full percentage point to 6.9%.

Excluding government jobs, the labor market actually added 906,000 jobs, as 150,000 temporary government workers finished the 2020 census last month.

Manufacturing added 38,000 new jobs, fewer than the 60,000 added in September. Manufacturing still employs several thousand fewer people than it did before the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Durable goods manufacturing added 21,000 jobs: fabricated metal products added 7,200 jobs, primary metals added 6,000, and wood products added 4,400. Machinery manufacturers hired 3,900 more people, Computer and electronics manufacturers hired 3,500, and miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing added 2,100.

Nonmetallic mineral products, electrical equipment and appliances, transportation equipment, and furniture all lost jobs, however: Nonmetallic minerals and electrical equipment each lost fewer than a thousand jobs, while furniture and transportation equipment lost 1,200 and 2,400 instead.

Despite the overall loss in transportation equipment jobs, motor vehicles and parts manufacturers actually added 1,400 jobs.

Nondurable goods manufacturing added 17,000 new jobs in October, led strongly by food manufacturing, which added 6,200 jobs. Plastics and rubber products added 3,500 jobs, printing and related support activities added 2,400, and petroleum and coal products added 2,000. Paper and paper products manufacturing lost 1,500 jobs.

The number of manufacturing jobs is still 621,000 jobs shy of where it was in February before the sector lost more than a million jobs over the course of March and April. May and June consequently saw six-digit gains as factories sprang back to work with new protection protocols in place, but since July, manufacturing job growth has hovered between 29,000 and 60,000 jobs per month.

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said “there are still hundreds of thousands of manufacturing workers among the tens of millions of Americans left unemployed by the coronavirus recession.” He called for the winner of the 2020 presidential election to produce a “major infrastructure and clean energy investment package,” which he said would create millions of new jobs and produce economy recovery.

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