First the good news regarding the March Jobs Report, The manufacturing sector added 37,000 jobs in March, and manufacturing, as we all know, is a bell weather of the overall economy so this positive number bodes well for the future.
Now the bad news – everything else in the report is disappointing to say the least. For me the most discouraging number was the precipitous decline in the workforce. Fewer people looking for work is not a sign of growth, and growth is what our economy needs. Ironically this reduction in the overall labor force is the reason the unemployment rate declined from 8.3 to 8.2 percent.
The gain in Manufacturing employment of 37,000 in March is the second-strongest gain in the last 12 months, and continues the manufacturing jobs gain that began in January 2010. Since that time, manufacturing has gained 470,000 jobs – and has seen employment grow 10 percent faster than in the rest of the private sector.
Durable goods employment continued its strong growth pattern, gaining 26 thousand jobs in March. Reflecting resurgent motor vehicle production in the United States, the March employment gain in that sector accounted for nearly half of the entire durable goods employment increase. Non-durable goods employment rose 11,000.
The strong growth in manufacturing that has been going on since January 2010 is clearly visible in the attached graphs, as is the robust performance of the durable goods sector and the lackluster record in non-durables employment.
In order to have robust growth across both the durable goods and non-durable goods sector we need pro-manufacturing policies from Washington that will enable growth.