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Inside the Labor Report: Manufacturing Hiring Trends in September 2021

Posted by IndustrySelect on Friday, October 8, 2021


New data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds the U.S. manufacturing sector added jobs in September, while job openings in the sector have hit a new record.

In September, U.S. manufacturers added just 26,000 new positions. Meanwhile, employment in the U.S. economy overall increased by a modest 194,000 jobs and the unemployment rate eased to 4.8%. The labor participation rate remained steady at 61.6, 1.5% than pre-pandemic levels, and the lowest rate the nation has seen since the 1970s.


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.

Manufacturing Job Openings Hit New Record High

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover, released in September, finds that the number of job openings in the sector continues to break records, with unfilled positions now at 942,000.

To put this in perspective, job openings in manufacturing in May of 2020 stood at 323,000.


Demand continues to spike for manufacturers, even as companies face longer lead times, materials shortages and growing backlogs. The dearth of skilled workers only compounds these challenges, as without sufficient labor, industrial companies are not able to produce enough to make demand. The JOLTS report suggests the manufacturing sector would be creating jobs at a much quicker pace if manufacturers were able to fill existing positions.

If you’re looking to help manufacturers like these with their staffing and workforce or automation needs, an IndustrySelect subscription can help you find new customers in the industrial world. Click here to try out a free demo.

The Manufacturing Sectors That Added the Most Jobs in September 2021

In September, both durable and non-durable goods manufacturing added jobs, with durable goods adding 16,000 jobs and non-durable goods adding another 10,000.

The fabricated metals sector accounted for much of the month’s manufacturing jobs gains, adding 8,200 jobs. This was followed by machinery with 6,300 jobs, printing and related support activities with 4,200 positions, and food manufacturing with 3,500.

Wood products (+2,300), computer and electronic products (+2,000), furniture (+1,300), semiconductors (+1,100), and plastic/rubber products (+1,000) also saw modest gains.

The Manufacturing Industries That Lost Jobs in September 2021

As a widespread semiconductor shortage continues to impact the auto industry, motor vehicles overwhelmingly led manufacturing job losses in September, with employment in the industry declining by 6,100. Meanwhile, transportation equipment shed 5,100 jobs. This month’s modest rise in semiconductor manufacturing employment will hopefully boost hiring in the auto industry in the coming months.

Most other industries saw little to no change, with hiring at a standstill for primary metals, textile mills, apparel, chemicals, petroleum and coal products, and nonmetallic mineral products.

Helping Manufacturers With Staffing Needs

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

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


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