Strong Gains in Manufacturing Jobs Continue
Here are some highlights from today's BLS employment release:
1. Manufacturing employment increased by 37,000 in March, following gains of 31,000 in February and 52,200 in January, for a first quarter factory job gain of 120,000. That's the largest first quarter increase in manufacturing jobs in 28 years, going all the way back to 1984.
2. The 37,000 gain in March factory jobs represented almost one out of every three of the total 120,000 payroll jobs added last month.
3. The jobless rate for the manufacturing sector fell from 8.4% in February to 7.6% in March (not seasonally adjusted - NSA), which was the lowest rate since November 2008, and marked the tenth straight month that the manufacturing jobless rate was below the national average (8.4% in March, NSA).
4. Average weekly overtime for manufacturing edged up to 4.3 hours in March, which was the highest weekly overtime since March 2007.
MP: The chart above displays the percentage employment gains since January 2010 for: a) manufacturing and b) total payroll employment, showing the 4.03% increase in factory jobs compared to the 2.71% increase in overall payrolls. American manufacturing has made a strong comeback over the last several years, which has increased factory employment by 462,000 since 2010, and has brought the once-dismissed industrial sector to the forefront of the economic expansion.
According to a recent Merrill-Lynch research report "An Industrial Revolution":
"We think that the manufacturing sector represents an important growth driver for the U.S. economy – generating more economic activity than any other business sector. In our view, the U.S. economy is in the early stages of a long term manufacturing renaissance. Manufacturers are increasingly likely to bring at least some production back to the U.S. while established players reinvest for further productive capacity and productivity improvements over the coming years."
In its March 27 report, Merrill-Lynch lists 68 new major industrial investment projects totaling more than $200 billion that have been announced or started just since 2011 in a wide variety of manufacturing industries like petrochemicals, chemicals, steel, refining, autos, heavy equipment, aerospace, plastics and ethylene.
Welcome to America's manufacturing renaissance.