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Manufacturing Adds 27,000 Jobs in July as Wages Grow

Aug. 6, 2021
Durable goods manufacturing saw employment rise by 20,000 as the average hourly wage there rose 16 cents.

Manufacturing jobs growth continued in July at a slightly slower pace than the month previous. The industrial sector of the U.S. economy added 27,000 jobs in July compared to the Department of Labor’s final June figure of 39,000. The overall nonfarm economy added 943,000 jobs total as the national unemployment rate fell half a point to 5.4%.

At the same time, the U.S. workweek for the average manufacturing employee rose by 24 minutes to 40 hours 30 minutes. Average overtime stayed at 3.2 hours.

More than a year on, manufacturing employment is still deep in the hole compared to what it was before the effects of the coronavirus on the global economy. The current manufacturing workforce is still 433,000 people fewer than it was in February 2020.

Durable goods manufacturing made up 20,000 of July’s new jobs, driven by particularly notable gains in machinery (which added 6,800 jobs) and miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing (which added 5,500). Transportation equipment, the largest durable manufacturing sector by employment, lost about 1,500 jobs, though motor vehicles and parts production added 800.

The smaller nondurable goods sector added the 7,000 remaining new manufacturing jobs, more than half of which (4,000) were in its largest sector, food manufacturing. Miscellaneous nondurable goods manufacturing helped add jobs as well, growing by 3,200 positions, but gains here and in chemicals (which added 2,600 new workers) were offset slightly by smaller losses in apparel, paper, printing, textile product mills, and petroleum and coal products.

Average earnings at nonfarm positions grew alongside manufacturing wages. The average hourly wage at a nonfarm job rose 11 cents to $30.54 in July while the average hourly manufacturing wage rose 15 cents to $29.77. Wages in durable goods production rose by 16 cents and in nondurable goods by 13 cents, likely reflecting the difficulty many in manufacturing now say they face in a time of labor shortages.

About the Author

Ryan Secard | Associate Editor


Focus: Workforce and labor issues; machining and foundry management

Associate Editor Ryan Secard covers topics relevant to the manufacturing workforce, including recruitment, safety, labor organizations, and the skills gap. Ryan has written IndustryWeek's Salary Survey annually since 2021 and has coordinated its Talent Advisory Board since September 2023.

Ryan got started at IndustryWeek in August 2019 as an editorial intern and was hired as a news editor in 2020 before his 2023 promotion to associate editor, talent. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the College of Wooster.

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