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Manufacturing Adds 32,000 Jobs in October on Gains in Transportation

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

U.S. manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in October, with a major gain in transportation employment.

The job increase was split, with durable goods adding 21,000 jobs and non-durable goods kicking in another 11,000, according to a breakdown by industry issued today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Transportation equipment added 10,200 jobs, the largest employment increase among manufacturing categories. Of that, 6,800 jobs were added in motor vehicles and parts.

U.S. sales of cars and light trucks have softened from record highs but are still running at traditionally strong rates. Demand for pickups and sport-utility vehicles remains high while cars are struggling.

Other job gainers within durable goods included machinery, up 4,800, and miscellaneous manufacturing, up 2,800. Primary metals lost 300 jobs.

For most of this year, durable goods has dominated job additions within manufacturing. In October, non-durable goods carried more of the load. Food manufacturing was the biggest gainer among non-durable goods, with an increase of 6,800 jobs.

Manufacturing totaled 12.785 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. That compares with an adjusted 12.753 million in September. The October total also is 296,000 jobs more than the 12.489 million in October 2017.

Better Than Forecast

Total non-farm employment rose by 250,000 jobs last month, the bureau said in a statement. That was better than the forecast of 190,000 by economists surveyed by Reuters. The U.S. unemployment remained unchanged at 3.7%, a 49-year low.

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 increased automation and technology in factories.

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