Manufacturing added 26,000 jobs in December with durable goods sectors doing the heavy lifting.
Durable goods accounted for 20,000 jobs of the gain, according to a breakdown by industry issued today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Leading the way was machinery, with an increase of 7,700 jobs, and motor vehicles and parts, up 4,200.
Employment in the auto industry was volatile in 2021 because of a global shortage of semiconductors. That held back production and caused temporary plant shutdowns. Demand remains strong for trucks and SUVs.
Other sectors with employment increases included nonmetallic mineral products, up 2,100 jobs, miscellaneous manufacturing (up 2,000), and primary metals (up 1,900)
Manufacturing totaled 12.58 million jobs in December on a seasonally adjusted basis. That was up from an adjusted 12.554 million in November and 12.231 million in December 2020.
Employment in manufacturing hasn’t yet fully recovered from COVID-19. Manufacturing jobs are down by 219,000 from February 2020 levels, the last month before COVID-19 began to slam the economy, the bureau said in a statement.
A new COVID variant, Omicron, is causing a surge in cases and hospitalizations. Omicron’s impact mostly took place late in December.
Total non-farm employment rose by 199,000 jobs in December, according to the bureau. That was less than the 400,000 forecast by economists surveyed by Reuters.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in December, down from 4.2 percent the month before.
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