The April manufacturing jobs figures erased a preliminary March reading that would have represented the sector’s first net monthly loss since July, 2013. But but even mildly positive revisions left domestic industry with its worst three-month performance stretch in nearly two years. Moreover, year-on-year net manufacturing job growth slowed to its worst rate since last June, and wage increases turned in their worst performance since December, slowing both month-to-month and year-on-year.
Here’s my analysis of these latest monthly manufacturing figures contained in this morning’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
>Today’s preliminary April jobs figures revised March’s preliminary figure from a 1,000 net loss – which would have been its first decrease since July, 2013 – to a flat-line reading. But even this mildly positive revision, another one for February, and April’s 1,000 gain, left the sector with its worst three-month stretch of net job gains since April to May, 2013, when the sector lost 23,000 jobs on net.
>February’s manufacturing jobs figure, revised down last month from an 8,000 increase to 2,000, was revised back up to 3,000.
>April’s meager monthly manufacturing job gain resulted in the sector’s lowest year-on-year employment improvement (180,000) since last June’s 172,000. Annual manufacturing job growth has now fallen each month this year, from January’s 216,000.
>At the same time, April’s year-on-year manufacturing job increase was still much better than 2013-14’s 136,000, and 2012-13’s 90,000.
>Since manufacturing hit its recent absolute employment low of 11.453 million (in February and March of 2010), the sector has regained 869,000 (37.90 percent) of the 2.293 million jobs it lost during the recession and its aftermath. By contrast, the private sector overall lost 8.801 million jobs from the recession’s December, 2007 onset through its February, 2010 absolute employment low. Since then, it has since increased net employment by 12.287 million.
>In fact, whereas total private sector employment is now 3.01 percent higher than at the recession’s beginning, manufacturing employment is still 10.36 percent lower.
>April’s manufacturing pre-inflation wage data was even more discouraging than the jobs data,. The April monthly wage increase of 0.12 percent matched that of the private sector overall, but was slower than March’s 0.28 percent and the sector’s worst performance since its 0.36 percent decrease in December.
>In addition, although manufacturing’s April 1.78 percent pre-inflation year-on-year wage increase topped March’s 1.46 percent, it was lower than the 1.98 percent rise from April. 2013 to April, 2014.
‘>This yearly manufacturing wage increase were also smaller than that of the private sector’s for this April (2.18 percent), but slightly higher than that for private sector wages for the previous April (1.97 percent).
>Since the current economic recovery began, pre-inflation manufacturing wages are up less (9.12 percent) than private sector wages (12.23 percent).
>An even sorrier manufacturing wage performance emerges after adjusting for inflation. In real terms, both manufacturing wages and private sector wages were flat on a monthly basis in March (the latest available figures). But year-on-year, inflation-adjusted manufacturing wages are up only 1.43 percent, versus 2.13 percent for the private sector.
>Moreover, as of these preliminary March figures, inflation-adjusted manufacturing wages are still down by 0.75 percent since the recovery officially began in mid-2009. Real wages for the entire rivate sector are up 2.13 percent.