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U.S. Manufacturers Ramp Up Hiring in December

Posted by IndustrySelect on Friday, January 8, 2021


New data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that manufacturing employment in the U.S. rose even as the larger economy lost jobs in December.

According to the Employment Summary released Friday, January 8th, payroll employment declined by 140,000 jobs in the month of December, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.7% - the first overall job loss recorded since April of last year.

Losses were sharpest in leisure and hospitality, which saw a decline of 498,000 jobs as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the service economy.

Jobs in private education and government also fell in December. These losses were somewhat offset by gains in professional business services – including a 68,000-job jump in temporary help services. Construction and retail trade also saw a gain in jobs.

Manufacturers hired at a slightly brisker pace in December, adding 38,000 jobs, compared to 27,000 added in November.

The Labor Department reports the U.S. manufacturing sector is still 543,000 jobs shy of pre-pandemic levels. Interestingly, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, out last month found that the number of job openings in the sector stands at roughly 525,00 or 4.1%, 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

December 2020 Manufacturing Job Gains & Losses by Sector

In December, jobs gains were spread out across multiple industries, with most manufacturing subsectors adding jobs. Of the twenty-six separate manufacturing industries tracked by the BLS, just two reported significant losses. In the durable goods sector, employment in motor vehicles and parts rose by 6,700 jobs, while non-metallic mineral products added 6,100 jobs. Machinery gained 2,800 jobs and fabricated metal products added 2,700.

Electrical equipment and electronic products, wood products, furniture, transportation equipment and miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing all reported significant gains in employment.

The primary metals industry was the only subsector in the durable goods category to post a significant loss, shedding 2,100 jobs.

On the non-durable goods side, most sub-sector saw job gains, with food manufacturing adding 5,500 jobs, apparel adding 4,000; petroleum & coal products gaining 3,200 and printing and related support activities adding 2,800.

Miscellaneous non-durable goods manufacturing was the only sector to post a significant loss, down by 11,200 jobs.

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.

Employment services, in fact, added 88,400 jobs in December, while temporary help services added 67,600 jobs, according to the most recent labor report. You can read more about 2021 forecasts for the staffing industry here.

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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