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Manufacturing Adds 21,000 Jobs in February

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Manufacturing added 21,000 jobs last month, paced by gains in transportation equipment, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said today.

Transportation boosted employment by 9,700 jobs, according to a breakdown by industry issued by the bureau.

Within transportation, motor vehicles and parts only added 100 jobs. The auto industry was one of the first manufacturing sectors to resume operations following plant shutdowns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, durable goods added 17,000 jobs, according to the bureau. Besides transportation, job gainers for the month included machinery (up 3,800), miscellaneous manufacturing (up 2,800) and electrical equipment and appliances (up 2,400).

Manufacturing employment totaled 12.238 million in February on a seasonally adjusted basis. That’s down 561,000 from February 2020’s 12.799 million. That was the last month before COVID-19 began to slam the U.S. economy.

Factories have adopted new safety procedures because of COVID-19. Some manufacturing sectors, such as aerospace, are still coping with the economic impact of the pandemic.

Total non-farm employment rose by 379,000 jobs last month, the bureau said in a statement. That was better than the forecast of 182,000 jobs of economists surveyed by Reuters. The agency also revised January’s job increase to 166,000 jobs. The gain initially was reported at 49,000.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent in February from 6.3 percent the month before.

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