Manufacturing lost another 9,000 jobs in September, a second straight monthly drop that dragged its share of total American employment down to a new record low of 8.65 percent. These back-to-back monthly job declines were the sector’s first such streak since June and July, 2013. Largely as a result, the sector’s year-on-year employment gain of 104,000 was its lowest since October, 2013’s 89,000.
Wages were the relative bright spot in the September manufacturing employment picture, as hourly pay before inflation outperformed total private sector wages month-on-month and year-on-year. In addition, manufacturing job figures for July and September were lowered slightly, with the latter’s re-estimated 18.000 monthly loss the sector’s worst since July, 2013.
Here’s my analysis of the latest monthly (September) manufacturing figures contained in this morning’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
>In September, American manufacturing lost 9,000 jobs on net, a performance that brought its share of total non-farm jobs (the Labor Department’s U.S. employment universe) down to an all-time low of 8.65 percent.
>This figure is lower even than manufacturing’s share of total American employment when the sector hit its recessionary jobs bottom in early 2010. In February and March of that year, manufacturing accounted for 10.69 percent and 10.67 percent of total non-farm jobs, respectively.
>Coming on the heels of a downwardly revised loss of 18,000 jobs in August, manufacturing has now suffered its first two consecutive months of net job declines since June and July of 2013.
>This latest manufacturing jobs slump also helped produce the sector’s worst year-on-year employment growth (104,000) since October, 2013’s 89,000.
>September’s year-on-year figure was also much lower than the 192,000 advance achieved between September, 2013 and September, 2014, though it bettered the 74,000 net new manufacturing jobs created from September, 2012 to September, 2013.
>The slight downward monthly manufacturing jobs figure for August (from 17,000) was accompanied by a similar re-estimate for July (from 12,000 to 11,000).
>Since manufacturing hit its 2010 employment bottom, the sector has regained 865,000 (37.72 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 13.169 million.
>In fact, whereas total private sector employment is now 3.77 percent higher than at the recession’s beginning, manufacturing employment is still 10.39 percent lower.
>Although overall pre-inflation private sector wages dipped in September, hourly manufacturing pay inched up by a penny, or 0.04 percent. Moreover, August’s monthly wage increase was revised up from 0.32 percent to 0.55 percent, and July’s from 0.52 percent to 0.60 percent.
>Manufacturing’s year-on-year current dollar wage advance of 2.25 percent also bested the comparable overall private sector rise of 2.20 percent. It was also much better than industry’s 1.35 percent wage hikes between September, 2013 and September, 2014, but a bit lower than the 2.29 percent increase between September, 2012 and September, 2013.
>Longer term, though, manufacturing remains a national wage laggard. Since the current economic recovery began, its pre-inflation wages are up less (9.41 percent) than overall private sector wages (13.22 percent).
>Manufacturing’s wage performance has been worse after adjusting for inflation, especially over the longer term. The latest Labor Department figures are from August, and will be updated later this month. But they showed that in real terms, manufacturing wages rose sequentially by 0.66 percent, their strongest monthly performance since January, .
>Real total private sector wages rose by only 0.48 percent in August, their best monthly gain since January as well.
>Year-on-year, however, inflation-adjusted August manufacturing wages were up only 1.81 percent, less than the overall private sector’s increase of 2.03 percent.
>Moreover, as of August, inflation-adjusted manufacturing wages are 0.37 percent lower than they were when the recovery officially began in mid-2009. Real wages for the entire private sector are 2.23 percent higher.