U.S. manufacturers cut 12,000 jobs in December, with job losses spread across industries.
Durable goods industries lost 7,000 jobs for the month with non-durable goods losing another 5,000, according to a breakdown by sector issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The largest durable goods loss occurred in fabricated metal products, down 7,200 jobs. Other job cuts took place in primary metals (down 2,300), machinery (down 2,100) and furniture (down 1,300).
Those losses were partially offset by gains in industries including transportation equipment (up 1,900), miscellaneous manufacturing (up 1,500) and computer and electronic products (up 1,500).
Within transportation, motorized vehicle and parts lost 800 jobs.
December capped off a year of slow growth in manufacturing jobs as trade disputes hit various industries.
Manufacturing totaled 12.855 million jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in December. That was up 46,000 jobs from December 2018. By contrast, manufacturing added 264,000 jobs in 2018.
The December 2019 figure was down from 12.867 million the month before.
Total non-farm employment increased by 145,000 jobs in December, the bureau said in a statement. Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast a gain of 164,000 jobs. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.5 percent, near a 50-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.