We are big champions of American manufacturing and reshoring. In fact, we work with suppliers who produce amazing products made in America every day, and we play an instrumental role in helping small- and medium-sized suppliers grow.
But how can we measure growth for the industry overall? A good barometer is the state of the manufacturing workforce. That’s why we will be regularly diving deep into the latest information from the Bureau Of Labor Statistics to take the pulse of hiring in the industry and to highlight sectors that are growing.
Here is our Manufacturing Industry Jobs Update for September 2016 (scroll down for previous releases):
Manufacturing Unemployment Rate Holds Steady Despite Minor Job Losses
According to the BLS data, the number of people working in the manufacturing industry overall declined by 65,000 jobs (not seasonally adjusted), representing less than 1 percent of the overall manufacturing workforce. When accounting for seasonal adjustments, the workforce declined by 13,000 employees.
In addition, the unemployment rate for the industry remained steady at 4.2%, which is lower than the overall national unemployment rate of 5%, a sign that the manufacturing industry remains strong relative to other industries.
Signs Point To Industry Growth
Despite the slight contraction of the workforce, it appears that the manufacturing industry may be growing – not slowing. According to the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business, economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded by 2.1 percentage points. New manufacturing orders also increased in September, from 49.1% to 55.1%.
Sectors On The Rise
There were two sectors that managed to generate a significant number of new positions – 1,300 new jobs were created in the Nonmetallic Mineral Products sector and 1,200 new jobs were created in the Textile Product Mills sector.
Other sectors that experienced modest employment gains include:
- Computer And Peripheral Equipment (+500 jobs)
- Chemicals (+400 jobs)
- Miscellaneous Durable Goods (+300 jobs)
- Patroleum And Coal Products (+300 jobs)
Sectors To Monitor
On the other hand, there were sectors that experienced significant losses in employment in September. The Transportation Equipment Sector continued to be hit hard, losing 4,200 jobs in September after losing 6,400 jobs in the previous month.
Women In Manufacturing
THOMASNET.com proudly supports efforts to increase the number of women in manufacturing. These efforts include engaging young girls in STEM education, professional development and networking groups, and supporting women-owned businesses.
Are those efforts working?
As of September 2016, the percentage of women in manufacturing remained stagnant at 27.4%. Despite the efforts mentioned above, this represents a decline in comparison to a decade ago when women accounted for 28.5% of all employees in manufacturing.
Hopefully, the industry will continue to make strides in bringing more women into the workforce.
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