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U.S. Manufacturers Added 225,000 Jobs In May. Here's Where the Gains Were.

Posted by IndustrySelect on Friday, June 5, 2020

FRED chart showing manufacturing job losses at the height of the COVID pandemic

Manufacturing job losses and gains at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New data released today by the Bureau of Labor statistics shows the U.S. recovered an astounding 2.5 million jobs, after shedding an equally astounding 20.5 million jobs at the height of the COVID-19 fallout in April.

The unemployment rate fell to 13.3% after spiking to a record high of 14.70% in April.

Manufacturing, which was among the hardest-hit sectors, losing 1.3 million jobs in April, recovered 225,000 jobs or about 17.3% of jobs lost in April. This hopeful trend is expected to continue, as more states begin to fully reopen their economies.

Though manufacturing job gains were seen across most sectors, some industries fared better than others.

This article will take a closer look at the report's manufacturing job numbers, providing details on gains and losses in specific manufacturing sub-sectors. 

May 2020 Manufacturing Job Gains by Sector

Manufacturing currently accounts for 11,707,000 jobs, or roughly 9% of total U.S. non-farm employment. In May, a wide mix of sectors within the manufacturing category added jobs. Let’s take a look.

May 2020 gains were led by heavy durable goods industries, with motor vehicles and parts adding 27,700 jobs; fabricated metals adding 24,800 jobs and machinery gaining 22,600 workers. This was mostly expected as more automakers reopened across the country. The transportation equipment sector was one of the hardest hit sectors in April, losing 421,000 jobs in April.

Moving onto the non-durable goods category, plastics and rubber products added 29,800 jobs, while food processing recovered 24,900. Printing and related support activities recovered 16,400 jobs and apparel added back 12,800 workers. Textile mills saw a gain of 11,700 jobs.

May 2020 Manufacturing Job Losses by Sector

May’s Labor Report was in many ways, the exact opposite of April’s. In April, all sectors except for one lost jobs (computers & peripheral equipment, incidentally). In May, all but six sectors gained jobs.

Manufacturing job losses in May were mostly seen in the durable goods sector, with electrical equipment and supplies registering the sharpest decline, losing 15,300 jobs. The primary metals sector also registered a notable decline, losing 9,400 jobs. Computers & peripheral equipment shed 5,000 jobs, while semiconductors and electronic equipment edged down by 3,400.

In the non-durable goods category, jobs one sector posted a decline: petroleum and coal products, down 1,100 jobs.


After seeing unprecedented job losses in April, May’s jobs report comes as welcome relief and suggests the U.S. economy is in the process of recovering lost jobs.

In May, the U.S. manufacturing sector came roaring back, adding 225,000 jobs. Durable goods industries such as transportation equipment and machinery, which suffered staggering job losses in April, recovered the most jobs.

Non-durable goods manufacturing also posted strong gains. Looking ahead, as more states fully reopen their manufacturing sectors, we may see employment levels return to

As the recovery takes hold across the U.S., manufacturing companies will likely be in need of new products and services.

If you are looking to reach out to decision makers in the manufacturing sector, IndustrySelect can help. IndustrySelect provides clients with touch-point data for potential leads, including direct executive contact information and other actionable data among 500,000 companies in the manufacturing and energy sector. To learn more about how you can use IndustrySelect to generate reliable leads for your company, visit our website.


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