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Manufacturing Adds 4000 Jobs in April, Paced by Autos

 By Bill Koenig
Senior Editor

US manufacturing employment stabilized in April, as companies added 4000 jobs primarily because of the auto industry.

Automakers and their suppliers boosted employment by 6100 jobs, according to a breakdown by industry issued today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The transportation equipment segment, which includes the auto industry, gained 6700 jobs.

Makers of durable goods added 6000 jobs while non-durable goods employers cut 2000 jobs. The gains followed a loss of 29,000 manufacturing jobs in March.

Manufacturing jobs totaled 12.297 million on a seasonally adjusted basis in April. That compares to 12.293 million in March. However, the April figure was lower than the 12.316 million for April 2015.

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The auto industry employment gains occurred amid rising US vehicle deliveries.

US light vehicle sales gained 3.4% to 5.59 million in the year’s first four months, led by a 10.6% increase in light trucks, according to Autodata Corp. (Woodcliff Lake, NJ). Demand for large pickups and sport-utility vehicles have been spurred by lower oil prices.

Despite the increased sales and the April jobs gain, there have been some speed bumps involving jobs at automotive plants that don’t make trucks.

Last month, FCA US LLC said that, effective July 5, it would eliminate one shift at its Sterling Heights, MI, assembly plant. The move will put 1300 workers who build the Chrysler 200 sedan there on indefinite layoff.

Other job gainers within durable goods included fabricated metal products, up 1300. Sectors that lost jobs included machinery, down 1200, and primary metals, down 1100.

Total US non-farm employment rose by 160,000 jobs in April, according to a statement by the US Labor Department. Economists polled by the Reuters news service forecast an average gain of 202,000 jobs. The US unemployment rate was unchanged at 5%.

Manufacturing jobs peaked in June 1979 (19.6 million on a seasonally adjusted basis, 19.7 million unadjusted). That sank to a low of 11.45 million adjusted and 11.34 million unadjusted in February 2010, following a recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis.

Since the low, there has been a gradual gain in manufacturing jobs. New jobs in the sector require increased skills because of more automation and technology in factories.

Published Date : 5/6/2016

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