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Manufacturing Jobs Show Gains despite 9% unemployment.

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May 9, 2011 - According to NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray, Bureau of Labor Statistics' report on US unemployment is positive news for manufacturing. Report shows recovery continues to move in appropriate direction regarding employment, with 250,000 net new jobs created since December 2009. "However," tempered Moutray, "we are not seeing as large of employment gains as we would hope to at this point in the recovery." He attributes this mainly to uncertainties such as energy prices and regulation.

Despite 9 Percent Unemployment, Manufacturing Shows Gains

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National Association Of Manufacturers (NAM)
1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC, 20004

Press release date: May 6, 2011

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. unemployment rate rose from 8.8 in March to 9.0 percent in April. Despite this, there were 244,000 additional non-farm payroll jobs, with gains widespread across a number of industries, including manufacturing.

Manufacturing employment increased 29,000 for the month, with 19,000 in durable goods industries and 10,000 in nondurables. The largest manufacturing employment gainers for April were food manufacturing (up 7,200), machinery (up 5,200), fabricated metal products (up 5,100), and computer and electronic products (up 4,000). Average hourly earnings in manufacturing also edged higher in April, from $23.56 to $23.60. Similarly, the average number of hours worked among manufacturers moved from 84.9 to 85.1 hours. Overall, average weekly earnings in manufacturing are up 2.3 percent since last April.

This report is positive news for manufacturing, showing the recovery continues to move in the right direction with employment with 250,000 net new jobs created since December 2009. However, we are not seeing as large of employment gains as we would hope to at this point in the recovery, mainly due to uncertainty still facing businesses such as higher energy prices and increased regulation. Manufacturers use one third of our nation's energy supply and as prices continue to increase it will only have a larger drag on the manufacturing sector and the economy.

Chad Moutray is chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers.
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