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Jobs Report: Manufacturing Jobs Flat at Historically Low Unemployment

May 5, 2023
The latest data show that manufacturing unemployment fell to 2.8% in April.

Unemployment in and outside of manufacturing remained at historically low levels last month, according to the latest data from the Department of Labor. The latest Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.4% with approximately 250,000 new jobs added in April.

Manufacturing jobs growth remained similarly flat, with 11,000 jobs added last month, though the manufacturing unemployment rate remained at a historic low of 2.8. That’s one-tenth of a percent lower than it was in March, but still one percentage point higher than its previous low point of December 2022, when it hit 1.8%.

Almost all jobs added in manufacturing were in durable goods production, which made up 10,000 of new manufacturing jobs in April. The largest-growing sectors were transportation equipment and fabricated metal product manufacturing, which added 6,800 and 6,300 jobs, respectively. In nondurable goods, food manufacturing gained 1,000 jobs by itself. Mixed growth and job loss numbers in the other, smaller nondurable goods sectors cancelled each other out.

Most other features of manufacturing surveyed by the Bureau remained mostly flat as well. Average hours worked and overtime in manufacturing were all relatively unchanged.

Despite the historically low unemployment numbers, wage growth also remained close to flat, with unremarkable increases. In compensation, average hourly earnings in manufacturing ticked up by 13 cents an hour to $32.02, slightly slower than average wage growth overall, which rose 16 cents an hour to $33.36. 

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