Manufacturing Industry Records Eighth Month of Job Growth

U.S. Manufacturing Industry

The first half of 2018 is off to a positive start with continued growth in the manufacturing sector. Recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor reported an additional 18,000 jobs added within the industry. During the month of May, this equated into 12.673 million jobs, just slightly higher than the 12.655 million jobs reported in April. Many of these new jobs come from durable goods manufacturing.

Compared to a year ago when May 2017 numbers were at 12.414, this demonstrates a positive lift. Other economic areas such as the non-farm sector continue to show increases with 223,000 new jobs reported during the month of May, better than the 188,000 jobs economists predicted during this time frame. Retail trade (31,000 jobs), health care (29,000 jobs), and construction (25,000 jobs) also saw increased growth, and the unemployment rate moved to 3.8 percent, according to the June 1 economic news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Areas of New Job Creation

Machinery manufacturers – 5,800 new jobs

Fabricated metal products – 2,400 new jobs

Wood products – 1,300 new jobs

Industry Downturn

One area of the industry not experiencing the same level of growth is within the motorized vehicle and parts industry. 4,400 manufacturing jobs were lost during the month of May in this sector. Traditionally, this area, which includes trucks, cars and other vehicles, has been one of the more robust in the industry. The once-top job creator continues to experience a dip as more automotive buyers switch their preference from cars to larger-size SUVs and trucks.

Despite this slump, the sector still experienced an overall gain of 1,400 jobs, and automotive dealers point out the benefits of better-quality automobiles produced by leaner plants. Another bright side is SUVs and trucks have a larger price tag than most cars. Automotive industry insiders anticipate that larger profits from the production of SUVs and trucks will make it easier for automotive plants to make production changes, hopefully decreasing the need for large layoffs. Another positive is that automotive producers now react to changes in consumer desires quicker than they did in the past.

Slow Yet Steady

Nimbleness in manufacturing methods and changes in U.S. trade policy offer two examples of how the manufacturing industry continues to rebound from the 2008 financial crisis and recession. As economic conditions continue to improve, the industry shows steady, yet slow, growth with hiring continuing throughout much of the industry. A desire for products made in the U.S. also helps justify new jobs and an increasing workforce to meet growing demand. But the continuation of such trends remains to be seen with the possibility of an upcoming trade war, according to a news report from Manufacturing Talk Radio.

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