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Manufacturing Job Gains & Losses by Sector in January 2021

Posted by IndustrySelect on Friday, February 5, 2021


New data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the U.S. manufacturing sector shed jobs for the first time since the height of the pandemic-related job losses suffered in the spring of 2020. But which specific industries lost and gained jobs? We'll take a look at that in a moment, but first let's let the general takeaways from the employment summary. 

Employment in the U.S. economy overall was little changed, adding a net 49,000 jobs in January, while the employment rate fell slightly by 0.4% to 6.3 percent.

Job gains overall were led by professional and business services, with temporary help services accounting for much of the gains, growing by 81,000 jobs. Jobs in mining, wholesale trade, private education and management and technical consulting services also rose in January.

Losses were also seen in retail trade, transportation & warehousing, and healthcare.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that manufacturing employment declined by 10,000 jobs in January, even as many manufacturers struggle to fill open positions.

The most recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, released in early January, found that the number of job openings in the sector stand at roughly 498,000 suggesting that lukewarm hiring in the sector may be a matter of companies having difficulty finding workers and not reflective of soft demand in the sector. 

Read the report: Job Openings in Manufacturing Hit All-Time High

But how did U.S. manufacturing employment fare on an industry-by-industry basis? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

January 2021 Manufacturing Job Gains & Losses by Sector

In January, a 17,000-job loss in durable goods manufacturing was offset by a 7,000-job gain in non-durable goods manufacturing, for a net loss of 10,000 jobs for the sector overall.

In the durable goods sector, losses were most severe in the automotive sector, with motor vehicle & parts shedding 5,300 jobs and transportation equipment declining by 3,200 jobs. Not surprisingly, employment in semiconductors and electronic components rose by 1,800 as the U.S. grapples with a worldwide semiconductor shortage that has caused some automakers to cease production.

Fabricated metal products lost 4,100, electrical equipment and appliances shed 3,200 and nonmetallic mineral products lost 6,400.

Wood products saw a gain of 1,300 jobs, as did computer and electronic products and miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing.

On the non-durable goods manufacturing side, gains were overwhelming led by the chemicals industry, adding 10,500 jobs in January. Food manufacturing also added jobs, up by 2,200 workers. All other sub-sectors on the non-durable goods side suffered minor losses, with apparel declining by 2,500, miscellaneous non-durable goods manufacturing down by 1,800 and printing and related support activities down by 1,200.

Helping Manufacturers With Staffing Needs

Prior to the pandemic, industrial companies were already facing down a tight labor market and a persistent skills gap. COVID-related workforce issues are now looking for outside help to staff the factory floor, while others are looking to invest in more automation.

If you’re looking to help manufacturers with their staffing and workforce or automation needs, an IndustrySelect subscription can help you find new customers in the industrial world.

Powered by MNI’s hand-verified industrial information, IndustrySelect provides instant access to 460,000 industrial business profiles, including one million executives, including decision-makers in Human Resources, Health & Safety, Research & Development and more.

To get a hands-on look at how an IndustrySelect subscription can help you reach new customers, visit our website and try out a free demo.



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