Manufacturing employment increased by 37,000 jobs last month, with motor vehicles and parts leading the way.
The figures were included in a breakdown by industry issued today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The motor vehicles and parts category added 24,100 jobs in August. Auto industry employment has been erratic this year, affected by temporary plant shutdowns due to a global shortage of semiconductors.
That shortage is expected to last into 2022. General Motors Co. plans to temporarily idle most of its North American plants next week because of the semiconductor situation, according to The Detroit News. However, overall demand for vehicles has remained strong.
Another category with job gains was fabricated metal products, with a 6,600 job increase. Miscellaneous manufacturing posted an employment loss of 1,800 jobs.
Manufacturing employment totaled 12.421 million in August on a seasonally adjusted basis. That was up from an adjusted 12.384 million in July and 12.068 million in August 2020.
The sector’s job total is down by 378,000 from February 2020 levels, the last month before the COVID-19 pandemic slammed the U.S. economy, according to a bureau statement.
Total non-farm employment increased by 235,000 jobs last month, the bureau said. That represented a slowdown compared with recent months. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected an average gain of 728,000 jobs.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.2 percent, down from 5.4 percent in July, the bureau said.