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Manufacturing Loses 12,000 Jobs, Paced by Motor Vehicles

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

U.S. manufacturers cut 12,000 jobs in January, led by a loss of jobs in the motor vehicles sector.

Makers of vehicles and parts pared 10,600 jobs, according to a breakdown by sector issued today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Makers of durable goods cut 11,000 jobs for the month.

Other manufacturing job losers included primary metals, down 2,000, and machinery, down 1,400. The losses were partially offset by small gains in industries such as fabricated metal products, up 1,100.

Manufacturing totaled a seasonally adjusted 12.851 million in January. That was down from an adjusted 12.863 million in December. Last month’s figure was higher than the 12.825 million in January 2019.

Manufacturing was a weak link in an overall strong monthly jobs report.

Total non-farm employment rose by 225,000 jobs in January, the bureau said in a statement. That was better than the 160,000 gain forecast by economists surveyed by Reuters.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.6 percent, up from 3.5 percent in December.

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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