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No Good News for Manufacturers in September Jobs Numbers

Post: Oct. 8, 2012

While the unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped from 8.1 to 7.8 percent in September, the economy added only 114,000 jobs and, important to manufacturing and the prospects of future growth, manufacturers shed 15,000 jobs.

Here is how the numbers are reported in various national publications…..

The Los Angeles Times (10/6, Lee) reported, “While economists took the steep drop in unemployment with a grain of salt, they generally agreed that the report overall was evidence of an improving, albeit still tepid, economic recovery. Significantly, the unemployment rate for September didn’t fall because more people dropped out of the labor force, as in previous months.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer (10/6, Loyd) reported, “Many jobs added in September were parttime. The number of people with parttime jobs who wanted fulltime work rose from 8 million in August to 8.6 million in September. Manufacturing jobs fell by 16,000 in September, and there were 6,000 fewer jobs in computer and electronic products.”

IndustryWeek (10/5, Minter) reported, “Including September’s losses, manufacturing employment has had no net change since April. Job losses in manufacturing were led by computer and electronics products (-6,000) and in printing and related activities (-3,000). With foreign demand drying up and businesses reluctant to boost capital expenditure, ‘manufacturing is no longer the job generator it once was,’ said Chris Jones, an economist with TD Economics. ‘While we don’t expect the pace of job losses to be sustained, the days of robust manufacturing payrolls growth are likely behind us.'” The article noted “Some 11,942,000 people are employed in manufacturing in the US, 94,000 more than in September 2011.”

US News & World Report (10/5, Kurtzleben) noted, “While a large drop in the jobless rate is something to celebrate, the future is still shaky. Helping to dampen the employment outlook has been the dreaded fiscal cliff of spending cuts and expiring tax cuts due to take effect at the end of the year. The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that going over the cliff could send the nation into a recession next year. Though Congress will likely avert some of the scheduled changes, some employers are holding off on investment and hiring until the outlook becomes clearer.”

McClatchy (10/5, Hall) reported Chad Moutray, the chief economist with the National Association of Manufacturers, said in a blog post, “While there were upward revisions to nonfarm payrolls in July and August and increased overall employment in September, the larger story is one of continued weakness. US job growth has been dismal since February, and manufacturers’ employment has declined for two months in a row.” Moutray added, “With slowing global growth and uncertainties about the domestic fiscal situation paramount in many minds, the prospects for future growth in the economy are shaky at best.”

Job Growth Slowing In Manufacturing Sector. USA Today (10/5, Schmit) reported, “Some manufacturers are still hiring, but the industry’s resurgence is losing some steam after a strong start earlier this year.” Manufacturing made up “16% of new US jobs in the first seven months of this year, exceeding the industry’s 9% share of overall employment. Now employers are growing cautious as they see slowing economies in Europe and China and await the outcome of next month’s US elections.” Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, said, “From this point forward, we’re in a choppier season.”