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Remember Waiting for Godot? For those who haven’t read it, in a (very superficial) nutshell, Samuel Beckett’s 1953 existentialist masterpiece tells the story of two men who keep waiting for someone who never comes despite promises of his arrival that keep getting proved wrong. Think of the play as a world-class literary and philosophical version of the running Peanuts gag involving Lucy holding the football for a Charlie Brown place-kick.

Both Godot and Peanuts came to mind instantly this morning once I digested the new U.S. manufacturing jobs figures (for October). For as has been the case since late March, when President Trump began in imposing tariffs on metals imports, the job-creation performance of American metals-using industries once again defied the doomsayers by generally outperforming job-creation in the rest of domestic manufacturing, and in the U.S. private sector as a whole.

Here are the detailed numbers for October and September (which are still preliminary) and for August (which are now final – until the next major revision):

                                        through August     through September     through October

entire private sector:        +0.68 percent          +0.77 percent           +0.97 percent

overall manufacturing:     +0.61 percent          +0.75 percent           +0.82 percent

durable goods:                  +0.82 percent         +1.00 percent            +1.27 percent

fabricated metals products: +1.09 percent      +1.16 percent             +1.16 percent

non-electrical machinery:   +1.23 percent       +1.37 percent            +1.80 percent

automotive vehicles & parts: -0.03 percent     +0.07 percent            +0.78 percent

household appliances:          -0.31 percent        -0.31 percent             not available

aerospace products & parts:  +3.12 percent    +3.71 percent              not available

Consistent with data for the preceding months, the results are somewhat uneven. The automotive and appliances sectors have been under-performing considerably. (The latter, of course, was hit with household laundry machine tariffs a little before the metals tariffs began.) And momentum is slowing in fabricated metals products. But the rate of payroll increases everywhere else keep exceeding those for manufacturing overall, and even the durable goods super-sector – where the metals use in manufacturing is heavily concentrated. In addition, the momentum for motor vehicles and parts is strengthening.

Nothing in economics lasts forever. But the Cassandras who have been claiming both that the metals tariffs will surely decimate American metals-using industries, and that the damage is already visible, clearly need to rethink their narratives. Because with each passing month, they look just as clueless as Vladimir, Estragon…and good old Charlie Brown.