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Manufacturing Adds 38,000 Jobs in October

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Manufacturing added 38,000 jobs in October, with a majority in durable goods, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said today.

Makers of durable goods boosted employment by 21,000 jobs, according to a breakdown by sector released by the bureau.

Job gainers for the month included fabricated metal products, up 7,200 jobs, primary metals (up 6,000), wood products (up 4,400), machinery (up 3,900) and miscellaneous manufacturing (up 2,100).

The primary job loser in manufacturing was transportation equipment, down 2,400. However, motor vehicles and parts added 1,400.

Aerospace has been hammered because the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced demand for air travel. Airlines have canceled orders for new planes. Last week, Boeing Co. said it plans to cut jobs by another 10 percent during 2021.

The auto industry, by contrast, has mostly recovered after restarting operations in May following plant shutdowns aimed at slowing the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. reported profit rebounds for the third quarter.

Manufacturing totaled 12.231 million last month on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from an adjusted 12.193 million in September.

The bureau said in a statement that manufacturing employment is down 621,000 from February, just before COVID-19 began to reduce economic activity. Manufacturing employment totaled 12.81 million in October 2019.

Total non-farm employment rose by 638,000 in October, the bureau said. That was better than the 600,000 average estimate of economists surveyed by Reuters.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent from 7.9 percent in September.  

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