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Manufacturing Job Growth Doubles in October on Auto Hiring Surge

Nov. 5, 2021
Motor vehicles and parts made up 28,000 of 60,000 manufacturing jobs gained last month.

Jobs growth in manufacturing leaped in October as motor vehicles and parts manufacturers hired almost as many people as all other manufacturing sectors combined. According to the latest employment report from the Department of Labor, manufacturing added 60,000 jobs last month. The nonfarm economy added 531,000 jobs overall and the national unemployment rate edged down to 4.6% from 4.8%.

In a statement, labor secretary Marty Walsh noted that worker’s worries about COVID-19 are beginning to fade. “The number of people who are not rejoining the workforce due to COVID-related concerns dropped to its lowest level since the beginning of the pandemic,” he said.

The gap between pre-pandemic and current manufacturing employment shrank last month to 270,000 from 353,000 in September.

Motor vehicles and parts production added 27,700 jobs alone last month, making up almost half of all manufacturing jobs created in October and about 70% of the 41,000 new posts filled in durable goods production.

Elsewhere in durable goods, fabricated metal products employment added about 6,000 new jobs, followed by computer and electronic products companies, which added 3,500.

The worst-performing durable goods production sector was transportation equipment excluding motor vehicles and parts production. Non-auto related transport equipment manufacturers lost 4,000 jobs, offsetting the total figure of transportation equipment jobs created to 23,700.

Nondurable goods production filled 19,000 jobs with substantial gains across the board and almost no losses. The chemicals industry hired 5,600 more people, followed by printing and support activities (hired 4,200), plastics and rubber (3,200) and food manufacturing (3,000). All nondurable goods sectors added some jobs except for miscellaneous nondurable goods manufacturing, which lost 1,100.

Preliminary, seasonally adjusted figures on earnings show that manufacturing wages are increasing at a slightly faster rate than rates in the rest of the economy. The average earnings for a manufacturing worker rose an estimated 13 cents to $30.15 an hour last month according to the latest data, while the average private wage rose 11 cents to $30.96.

Earnings in nondurable goods manufacturing outpaced durable goods wage growth last month: Average earnings in durable goods grew about ten cents to $31.67 while average nondurable goods earnings rose 16 cents.

The official results from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics come two days after private payroll company ADP released a report that overestimated the whole-economy figure but underestimated manufacturing growth. ADP estimated manufacturing would add just 53,000 jobs and that the nonfarm economy would add 571,000. 

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