U.S. companies continued hiring workers last month at a solid but slightly slower pace than previously, in manufacturing and elsewhere.
According to the latest jobs report released by the Department of Labor, manufacturing employment rose by an estimated 22,000 filled jobs in September, slower than the 27,000 jobs gained between July and August, according to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Notable job gains were seen at in manufacturing’s largest sectors by employment: motor vehicles and parts companies, food manufacturing, and fabricated metal products.
Total nonfarm employment in the U.S. rose by 263,000 according to initial figures, pushing the unemployment rate down to 3.5%. Though the survey does not take into account any impact on hiring due to Hurricane Ian, which made landfall in Florida after data collection for the report had finished, the Department of Labor said in the report that severe weather typically has more of an impact on hours than employment.
The largest absolute increase in manufacturing employment last month was for motor vehicles and parts manufacturing: Automakers hired about 8,300 people last month, making up more than half of the 16,000 net new hires in the durable goods sector by itself. The closest durable-goods industry in terms of hiring last month was fabricated metal products, which added an 6,300 people to its payrolls.
Offsetting the gains made in motor vehicles, fabricated metal, and electrical equipment, machinery companies lost about 1,700 workers while nonmetallic mineral companies shed 1,500.
The nondurable goods sector grew by about 6,000 workers, mostly on the strength of 7,800 new hires in food manufacturing, that sector’s largest employment group. While the chemicals industry added another 3,400 jobs on top of that, both were offset by a steep 4,000-employee loss in printing, a drop of 1,400 in plastics and rubber companies, and losses of under a thousand employees each in textile product mills, textile mills, and apparel.
Manufacturing wages rose about on par with wages in the rest of the private economy. The average durable goods manufacturing wage rose by nine cents to $32.70, while the average nondurable goods wage and the average manufacturing wage overall both rose ten cents to $28.48 and $31.13, respectively. That put wage growth in manufacturing on par with mean nonmanufacturing wages, which also rose ten cents in September to $32.46 an hour.