Manufacturing Bucks Employment Trend

Employee in an Industrial Manufacturing Plant Working on a Pipeline.

Sep 05, 2017

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently unveiled its monthly report showing that U.S. job growth had slowed more than expected in August. This followed two straight months of gains that has brought the national unemployment rate to 4.4 percent.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 in August – down from the 200,000 in average gains from the two months prior. The areas realizing the heaviest increases in jobs included manufacturing, construction, health care and mining.

The labor force participation rate, at 62.9 percent, was unchanged in August and has shown little movement over the past year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.1 percent, was little changed over the month and thus far this year.

Average hourly earnings rose three cents or 0.1 percent after advancing 0.3 percent in July, keeping the year-on-year gain in wages at 2.5 percent for a fifth consecutive month. Americans also worked fewer hours in August. The average workweek slipped to 34.4 hours from 34.5 hours in July.

Manufacturing employment rose by 36,000 in August, the most in four years, with the motor vehicle sector adding 13,700 positions. Overall, U.S. manufacturing has gained 137,000 jobs this year. Other areas of manufacturing seeing gains in August include fabricated metal products (5,000) and computer and electronic products (4,000). Manufacturing has added 155,000 jobs since last November.