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Manufacturing Jobs Rise With Boost From Motor Vehicles

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Manufacturing employment rose in May, receiving a major boost from motor vehicles and parts where people returned to work after temporary layoffs.

Manufacturing jobs increased by 23,000, according to a breakdown by sector released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Durable goods contributed a gain of 18,000 jobs.

The motor vehicles and parts sector had an increase of 24,800 in May. The category had an adjusted plunge of 37,700 jobs the month before. The auto industry is coping with a shortage of semiconductors, which caused production cutbacks and temporary layoffs.

Earlier this week, General Motors Co. detailed plans to increase deliveries to dealers of pickups in the U.S. and Canada. Some U.S. assembly factories won’t take their normal summer vacation downtime.

The motor vehicles sector hasn’t completely recovered. The sector accounted for 891,100 jobs in May, according to the bureau. The category totaled 904,000 jobs in March, before the temporary layoffs hit.

Other industries posting job gains included fabricated metal products, up 3,500 jobs, and miscellaneous manufacturing (up 3,400). Industries with job cuts included machinery, down 4,700.

Manufacturing totaled 12.29 million in May on a seasonally adjusted basis. That’s up from an adjusted 12.267 million in April.

Manufacturing employment remains 509,000 jobs below February 2020 levels, the bureau said in a statement. That was the last month before the COVID-19 pandemic slammed the U.S. economy.

Total non-farm U.S. employment rose by 559,000 in May. The U.S. unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percent to 5.8 percent.

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