Manufacturing in the United States hit a post-COVID-19 milestone in June. According to the Department of Labor, manufacturing companies in the U.S. added 29,000 jobs last month, slightly beating the sector’s last pre-pandemic employment numbers in February 2020. Employment in the economy overall rose by 372,000 jobs as the employment rate and labor force participation rate—3.6% and 62.2%, respectively—remained stable.
Nondurable goods manufacturing companies notably added more workers than the larger durable goods sector last month. Durable goods companies, which now employ about 7.9 million people, added 11,000 jobs in July; Nondurable goods industries added 18,000 more workers to its total pool of 4.8 million people.
The large transportation equipment durable goods sector added the most jobs of any manufacturing sector with 7,200 new jobs, about 2,100 of which were in automobiles and parts.
In nondurable goods, miscellaneous goods, plastics and rubber, and food and beverage companies hired the most, driving the strong employment gains there. Miscellaneous nondurable goods manufacturers hired 5,400 people, plastics and rubber companies hired 5,300, and food manufacturers hired 4,800.
U.S. manufacturing companies currently employ, according to the latest, preliminary numbers, about 12,797,000 people. That’s about 2,000 more people than the 12,795,000 who worked in manufacturing as of February 2020 before employment in the industry started its nosedive by losing 48,000 manufacturing workers in March.