Employment rose by 163,000 in July, the government reported today, but the unemployment rate stayed stuck at 8.3%.
Manufacturing added 25,000 jobs this past month, nearly all of them in durable goods industries. The transportation equipment sector, which includes automobile manufacturing, added 20,500 jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that automotive manufacturers and their suppliers had fewer seasonal layoffs than normal.
Fabricated metals products manufacturers added 5,200 jobs while the communications equipment industry added 1,300 jobs. Machinery manufacturers trimmed their employment rolls by 2,200 workers.
The nondurable goods sector as a whole added just 1,000 jobs.In nondurable goods, plastics and rubber products manufacturers added 1,600 jobs, chemical firms added 1,100 workers and beverage and tobacco producers added 1,100 workers.
Labor experts had expected the United States to add about 100,000 jobs in July. Since the beginning of 2012, employment has grown by an average of 151,000 a month, just under the 2011 average of 153,000 for the same period.
"While the monthly gain is still relatively small by historical standards, it might help spark somewhat higher consumer optimism and spending. This, in turn, could lift growth moderately higher in Q3, from the moribund 1.5% pace recorded in Q2," commented Kathy Bostjancic, director of Macroeconomic Analysis for The Conference Board. "However, lackluster demand remains the biggest corporate challenge in the second half of 2012. Without a large improvement in confidence and spending, job gains are unlikely to gather steam."