U.S. manufacturing employment surged in June as makers of motor vehicles and parts returned to work from shutdowns related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Manufacturers added 356,000 jobs last month, with a gain of 290,000 in durable goods, according to a breakdown by industry sector issued today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The motor vehicle and parts category added almost 196,000 jobs, according to the bureau. Automakers and parts suppliers had stopped operations in March because of COVID-19.
Auto industry plants began restarting operations in May after taking steps to protect workers from the virus. Such actions including having workers wear masks and face coverings, staggering shifts so fewer employees are on duty at any one time and barriers between workstations.
All other durable goods categories also posted jobs gains. Among them were miscellaneous manufacturing (up 25,500), machinery (up 17,500), and fabricated metal products (up 11,100).
Manufacturing totaled almost 12.1 million jobs in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from 11.7 million in May. The June total lagged the 12.838 million jobs in June 2019.
Manufacturing was part of a record increase in employment. Non-farm employment gained 4.8 million jobs in June and U.S. unemployment rate slid to 11.1 percent from 13.3 percent the month before, the bureau said in a statement.
The monthly increase in jobs was the most since the U.S. began keeping records in 1939, according to Reuters.