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Manufacturing Adds 27,000 Jobs, Led by Motor Vehicles

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

U.S. manufacturing added 27,000 jobs last month, buoyed by gains in motor vehicles and parts, the Labor Department said today.

The motor vehicle sector boosted employment by 15,400 jobs, according to a breakdown by industry issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The overall transportation equipment category posted a gain of 17,800 jobs. Durable goods accounted for an increase of 22,000 jobs.

The auto industry has recovered from plant shutdowns early in the year to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Factories restarted operations in May with new safety procedures in place. The industry has been helped by continuing strong demand for trucks and SUVs.

Other job gainers included furniture, up 3,100 jobs, miscellaneous manufacturing (2,500), and machinery (1,900). Among durable goods, the fabricated metal products category was a notable job loser, down 2,000 jobs.

Manufacturing totaled 12.253 million jobs in November on a seasonally adjusted basis. That was up from 12.226 million in October. The November figure was down from 12.868 million in November 2019.

The bureau said in a statement that manufacturing is still down 599,000 jobs from February, just before COVID-19 began to slam the economy.

Non-farm employment in November rose by 245,000 jobs. That’s down from gains in previous months, including an adjusted gain of 610,000 in October. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast an increase of 469,000 jobs in November.

The November results are a possible sign that economic recovery from COVID-19 is slowing. Also, spread of the virus has intensified the past month across the U.S.

The unemployment rate in November declined to 6.7 percent from 6.9 percent the month before. The November rate was 3.2 percentage points higher than the rate in February.

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