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Manufacturing Employment Surges in March

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

U.S. manufacturing added 53,000 jobs in March, with contributions from both durable and non-durable goods, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Durable goods added 30,000 jobs, with non-durable goods contributing a 23,000-job gain, according to a breakdown by industry issued by the bureau on April 2.

Among durable goods, fabricated metals employment surged by 13,700 jobs; miscellaneous manufacturing added 4,500 jobs; and machinery had a 3,500-job gain.

One category that lost jobs was transportation equipment, down 3,000 jobs. That included a 1,000-job loss for motor vehicles and parts.

The manufacturing economy has been strengthening in recent months as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute for Supply Management said last week its manufacturing index for March reached its highest level in almost 40 years. That index is considered a leading indicator and is a barometer of where manufacturing is headed economically.

Manufacturing totaled 12.284 million last month on a seasonally adjusted basis. That was up from an adjusted 12.231 million in February. However, manufacturing is still down by 515,000 from February 2020, the month before COVID-19 began to slam the economy.

Total non-farm employment rose by 916,000 jobs in March, the bureau said in a statement. The U.S. unemployment dipped to 6 percent, down from 6.2 percent in February. The non-farm job gain was the biggest surge since 1.58 million in August 2020, according to CNBC.

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