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Manufacturing Loses 1.33 Million Jobs in April Because of COVID-19

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

U.S. manufacturing lost 1.33 million jobs in April as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) slammed the economy.

Makers of durable goods lost 914,000 jobs while non-durable goods manufacturing cut 416,000 jobs, according to a breakdown by industry issued today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of manufacturing jobs plunged to 11.488 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. That’s just above the all-time low of 11.45 million on an adjusted basis in February 2010.

The job losses were part of a broader surge in unemployment. The jobless rate reached 14.7 percent last month, the bureau said in a statement. The rate is the highest since the Great Depression. A few months ago, the rate had been at a 50-year low.

Total non-farm employment slid by 20.5 million in April, the bureau said.

COVID-19 caused plant shutdowns in the auto industry. Automakers with North American plants are moving to reopen factories later this month.

Motorized vehicles and parts lost 381,500 jobs in April while the overall transportation sector lost 421,300. Other major job losses occurred in fabricated metal parts (108,700), miscellaneous manufacturing (90,800), machinery (79,500) and non-metallic mineral products (61,600).

Manufacturers are having to reconfigure factories so workers are stationed further apart to avoid spread of the coronavirus. Demand for manufactured goods has dropped as the economy tries to adjust to the highly contagious COVID-19.

 In the U.S., there have been 1.26 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, with more than 75,000 deaths as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. States implemented stay-at-home orders to curb spread of the virus. States now are trying to restart their economies.

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