Manufacturing News

October Jobs Report: Manufacturing Makes a Comeback


In October, the U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs, bringing the 3-month average to 289,000 jobs per month. The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% but remained near historic lows. No super sector saw a decline in jobs in October, with notable job growth in manufacturing and healthcare. Average hourly earnings rose 4.7% compared with October 2021, a slower rate of growth than in prior months.

Monthly change in employment (by thousands) from January 2021 to October 2022 with the 3-month moving average. The past few months have seen steady but lower growth.
Since January 2021, the U.S. economic has added over 200,000 jobs every month. The highest months added around 700,000 jobs. The past three months (August, September and October 2022) have seen steady but lower growth at around 300,000 jobs per month. Source: BLS. Analysis by the Office of the Chief Economist, USDOL.

Manufacturing employment since February 2020

In 2022 alone, the manufacturing sector added 367,000 new jobs. Manufacturing grew by 32,000 jobs in October, continuing the historic resurgence of this blue-collar sector, which now provides 137,000 more jobs than it did before the pandemic. This is aligned with the Biden-Harris administration’s keen focus on supporting domestic manufacturing, supply-chain resilience and creating good jobs at home.

Chart showing the initial loss of manufacturing jobs from January through April 2020, and then steady growth from May 2020 though October 2022. In early 2022, the number of nondurable goods manufacturing jobs surpassed the pre-pandemic level. In October 2022, the number of durable goods manufacturing jobs surpassed the pre-pandemic level, as well.
Chart showing the initial loss of manufacturing jobs from January through April 2020, and then steady growth from May 2020 though October 2022. In early 2022, the number of nondurable goods manufacturing jobs surpassed the pre-pandemic level. In October 2022, the number of durable goods manufacturing jobs surpassed the pre-pandemic level. Source: BLS. Analysis by the Office of the Chief Economist, USDOL.

In October, notably, much of the monthly job gains in manufacturing were driven by durable goods manufacturing (+23,000 jobs or 71% of manufacturing jobs added). Some of the largest monthly changes in durable goods manufacturing were in transportation equipment, computer and electronic products, and fabricated metal products. Each of those industries added 5,000 jobs in October.

Monthly change in durable goods manufacturing. Six categories saw growth in October 2022 (transportation equipment, miscellaneous products, computer and electrical products, machinery, fabricated metal products, nonmetallic mineral products), three had no growth (furniture and related products, electrical equipment and appliances, and primary metals), and one saw a decline in jobs (wood products).
In October 2022, six categories of durable goods manufacturing saw growth between 3,000 to 5,000 jobs: transportation equipment, miscellaneous products, computer and electrical products, machinery, fabricated metal products, and nonmetallic mineral products. Three categories had no growth: furniture and related products, electrical equipment and appliances, and primary metals. One category saw a 1,000-job decline: wood products. Source: BLS. Analysis by the Office of the Chief Economist, USDOL.

Historic investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act are helping spur manufacturing growth while upgrading our nation’s infrastructure and growing our clean energy economy. And through the Good Jobs Initiative, the Labor Department is collaborating across the government to build strong labor standards and equitable pathways to good jobs in manufacturing and other growing industries that will help workers today – and strengthen our economy in the long term.

Joelle Gamble is the chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor.

 



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