US manufacturing added 16,000 jobs last month, with makers of durable goods doing the heavy lifting.
The durable goods sector added 13,000 jobs while makers of non-durable goods boosted employment by 3000, according to a breakdown by industry issued today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Notable job gainers included fabricated metal products (up 5000 jobs), transportation equipment (3800) and machinery (2100).
Within transportation equipment, motorized vehicles and parts added 1600 jobs. That sector had lost 1300 jobs in June.
The auto industry is seeing US sales soften following a record 2016 with 17.55 million deliveries of cars and light trucks.
US light vehicle sales fell 7% in July and are down 2.9% for the first seven months of 2017, according to Autodata Corp. Automakers are also coping with plunging demand for cars. Those deliveries slid 14% in July and are down 12% for the first seven months.
Most durable goods categories had at least small employment gains. The few job losers included furniture (down 1600 jobs) and miscellaneous manufacturing (down 200).
Manufacturing jobs totaled 12.425 million on a seasonally adjusted basis last month. That’s up from an adjusted 12.409 million in June. The July figure also was an improvement from 12.359 million manufacturing jobs in July 2016.
The US unemployment rate edged down to 4.3% from 4.4% in June.
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 severe recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis.
Since that low, new manufacturing jobs have been created requiring increased skills because of more automation and technology in factories.