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Manufacturing Hiring Holds Steady in March

Posted by IndustrySelect on Friday, April 5, 2024

The latest employment summary from the U.S. Department of Labor finds hiring in the U.S. manufacturing came to a standstill in March, with no zero gains or losses reported in the sector overall. However, taking a more in-depth look at the data from the Labor Department finds some notable gains—and losses within specific subsectors.In this article, we’ll explore the most recent manufacturing numbers from the Labor Department, providing gains and losses by specific subsector.

U.S. Manufacturing Job Changes in March 2024

Employment in the U.S. manufacturing sector was unchanged in March, with employment levels at 12,956,000—unchanged from February. This follows a 4,000-job decline reported in February and a 23,000-job gain reported for the sector at the very start of the year.

Meanwhile, the overall jobs report was more upbeat, beating expectations with 303,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy in March, while the unemployment rate decreased to 3.8%. Construction, government and healthcare saw the most job gains. Specialty trade contractors were particularly in-demand, with 25,000 new hires reported.

Additionally, the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey finds that unfilled positions in U.S. manufacturing decreased slightly. The Labor Department recorded 562,000 unfilled positions for the sector in February, up slightly from the 584,000 unfilled positions reported for January.

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Manufacturing Hiring Trends in March 2024

The Manufacturing Sectors That Lost Jobs in March 2024

In March, a 4,000-job gain in durable goods was offset by a 4,000-job loss in non-durable goods, resulting in a zero net change for the sector.

Job losses in the U.S. manufacturing sector in March were sharpest in beverage/tobacco/leather, which lost 3,500 jobs, followed by machinery (-2,500); apparel manufacturing (-2,100); computer & electronic products (-1,700); furniture (-1,300); textiles (-1,200) and primary metals (-1,200). 

Minor losses were also reported in semiconductors, fabricated metals, and plastics/rubber.

The Manufacturing Industries That Gained Jobs in March 2024

These losses were offset almost exclusively by transportation equipment, which added 11,000 jobs in March. Chemical manufacturing also came in strong, adding 4,400 jobs.

Minor gains were reported in wood products, nonmetallic mineral products, navigational instruments, miscellaneous manufacturing, and printing.

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Editor's note: This article is updated on the first Friday of every month, based on the latest data released by the Department of Labor.


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