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September Sees Slightly Slower Manufacturing Jobs Growth

Oct. 8, 2021
Solid growth in durable and nondurable goods manufacturing was somewhat offset by losses in auto factories.

Nonfarm U.S. employment rose 194,000 while manufacturing sector gained 26,000 jobs in September, driven by strong increases in durable and nondurable goods manufacturing. That’s a slight dip in manufacturing hiring compared to August, when manufacturers hired a net 31,000 new employees. The Department of Labor, which puts out a monthly employment situation report through the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reported growth in both durable and nondurable goods manufacturing employment.

As of the latest figures for September, manufacturing currently employs about 12.4 million people in the United States. The total number of manufacturing workers is still 353,000 people shy of the number of workers the sector had in February 2020, before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Durable goods manufacturing netted 16,000 new employees. About half of them, 8,200 by the Bureau’s estimate, went to work for fabricated metal products companies. A further 6,000 joined machinery workforces, and roughly 2,000 joined wood products and electronics companies each.

Those gains were offset by a drop of 6,000 workers in motor vehicles and parts manufacturing, the largest industry in the durable goods manufacturing sector.

Durable goods manufacturing currently employs 7.7 million of the 12.4 million manufacturing workers in the U.S.

Nondurable goods manufacturing added a healthy 10,000 new filled positions last month, thanks in large part to strong gains in printing and related support activities and the sector’s largest employer, food manufacturing. Printing and related companies saw job growth of approximately 4,200 jobs while food and beverage producers added 3,500.

Those additions to the workforce were not offset very much by slight losses in chemicals and textile mills of about 300 and 200 workers, respectively.

Nondurable goods producing companies employ 4.7 million people in the United States today.

Average hourly earnings in manufacturing increased at a stable rate of about five cents per month, and reached an average of $30.02 in September. Wages in durable manufacturing continued to increase at a faster rate of about 15 cents a month from $31.32 in July, $31.45 in August, and now $31.60 as of last month. Nondurable goods manufacturing’s rate of growth was one cent lower than the average of all manufacturing wage growth, increasing by 4 cents from August ($27.27) to September ($27.41).

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