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Labor Report: October Job Creation in Manufacturing Accelerates

Posted by IndustrySelect on Friday, November 5, 2021

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New data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds October’s job creation in the U.S. manufacturing sector more than doubled over last month, while unfilled positions in the sector have finally begun to decline.

In October, U.S. manufacturers added 60,000 new positions --- more than double September’s gain of 26,000. Meanwhile, employment in the U.S. economy overall increased by 531,000 jobs and the unemployment rate eased to 4.6%. The labor participation rate was unchanged at 61.6, the lowest rate the nation has seen since the 1970s.

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Today, we’re exploring the most recent manufacturing numbers from the Labor Department, providing the gains and losses by specific subsector, as well as the latest in manufacturing job openings.

Hiring Struggles Turns Corner

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover, released in October, finds that the number of job openings in the sector fell slightly, with unfilled positions now at 892,000, compared to 942,000 unfilled positions in August. This is an encouraging trend as industrial companies have struggled to fill open positions for several months. However, unfilled positions in manufacturing remain at historic levels. For instance, job openings in manufacturing in May of 2020 stood at 323,000.

The Manufacturing Sectors That Added the Most Jobs in October 2021

In October, both durable and non-durable goods manufacturing added jobs, with durable goods adding 41,000 jobs and non-durable goods adding another 19,000.

Gains were overwhelmingly led by the automotive sector, with motor vehicles and parts adding 27,000 jobs. This was followed by fabricated metal products with 5,800 jobs, chemical manufacturing, with 5,600 positions, and miscellaneous durable goods with 4,400. Printing and related support activities added 4,200 jobs in October, while computer and electronic products added 3,500 workers. Additional gains were seen in plastics and rubber products, paper products, food manufacturing, semiconductors, primary metals, and wood products.

The Manufacturing Industries That Lost Jobs in October 2021

Notably in October, job losses in manufacturing were negligible, with just two sectors posting losses. Furniture manufacturing shed just 600 jobs, while nonmetallic mineral products lost 400 jobs. All other industrial sectors either remained unchanged or added jobs, suggesting that industrial companies are making some headway on the labor front.

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