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However disappointing America’s November economy-wide job creation was, the official U.S. statistics released this morning show that you shouldn’t blame the nation’s manufacturers. Although total non-farm payrolls (NFP – the domestic employment universe of the U.S. Labor Department, which tracks these trends) advanced sequentially by a modest 210,000 (the worst such figure since last December’s 306,000 monthly loss), U.S.-based industry added a solid 31,000 net new positions. And revisions of the previous few months strong numbers were revised downward only moderately.

Speaking of revisions, it’s especially important today to note that the new NFP statistics are still preliminary – and will be for two more months. It’s especially important because recently – and no doubt largely due to the unprecedentedly weird nature of the CCP Virus-era U.S. economy – revisions have been enormous. For example, August’s initially reported NFP increase was just 235,000. Since then, it’s been upgraded all the way up to 483,000. The first September result – 194,000 – is now judged to be 379,000. So there’s no reason yet to conclude that the national economic sky is falling, or even changing much.

At first glance, based on this preliminary November data, manufacturing’s latest monthly employment performance slightly trailed that of the rest of the economy.

As of last month, including the revisions, industry has regained 1.132 million (or 81.73 percent) of the 1.385 million jobs it lost during the worst of the pandemic-induced recession in spring of 2020. So the manufacturing employment recovery improved by 1.53 percent on month.

The private sector overall as of November has now regained 18.376 million of the 21.353 million jobs it shed during peak CCP Virus. That 86.06 percent figure is 1.76 percent higher than October’s.

And the total non-farm sector has now recovered 18.450 million of the 22.362 million jobs it lost during that pandemic-triggered downturn. The resulting 82.50 percent mark is 1.60 percent better than October’s.

But don’t forget – manufacturing’s jobs decline during that terrible spring of 2020 was smaller proportionately than that of the private or non-farm sectors. So even though it’s had less ground to make up, U.S.-based industry has been creating new employment at nearly the pace of the economy as a whole.

November’s manufacturing jobs improvement was also noteworthy because it took place despite job losses of 10,100 in the automotive sector – which accounted for more than 40 percent of October’s advances. In fact, automotive revisions also accounted for 70 percent of the downgrading of that overall manufacturing October monthly manufacturing jobs improvement (from 60,000 to 48,000).

Other important November manufacturing job losers in the larger categories monitored by the Labor Department were computer and electronics products, which contains semiconductors, and which saw employment drop by 1,300 (its worst monthly decline since the 4,900 recorded in July, 2020); and – at least as troublingly, machinery. That latter industry, whose products are used throughout manufacturing and big non-manufacturing industries like agriculture and construction, shed 6,000 positions. That was its biggest month’s worth of job losses since the 861,000 disaster during the dark days of April, 2020.

These losses leave computer and electronics employment levels just 0.85 percent higher than just before the pandemic began distorting the American economy (in February, 2020) and machinery employment levels 2.63 percent lower.

November’s big manufacturing jobs winners were topped by the miscellaneous durable goods sector – which includes the major CCP Virus-related medical goods. Its payrolls surged by 10,000 – the most since July, 2020, during the first post- pandemic economic bounce, when they soared by 15,000. The fabricated metals products industry generated a 7,900 payroll jump that was its biggest since March’s 10,100. Food products added 7,400 employees for its best gain since August, 2020’s 19,000. Miscellaneous non-durable goods manufacturing was up 3,500. And electrical equipment and appliances’ payrolls grew by 3,300.

As always, the most detailed employment data for pandemic-related industries is one month behind those in the broader categories, and their October job creation was generally solid.

On the disappointing side was the surgical appliances and supplies sector. This industry contains personal protective equipment and similar goods, and the miscellaneous durable goods sector in which it’s been classified saw employment rise by a respectable 2,900 sequentially in October. But only 100 of these new positions came in the surgical appliances and supplies sub-sector. At the same time, September’s initially reported 900 jobs increase was revised up to 1,300, so maybe October will be a statistical blip – assuming of course that it’s not substantially revised, too. And as of October, payrolls in this sector have climbed by 8.27 percent over their immediate pre-CCP Virus February, 2020 levels – compared with the 7.79 percent calculable from the previous jobs report.

The overall pharmaceuticals and medicines industry performed better, with payrolls swelling by 1,500 in October. Still, September’s initially reported jobs rise of 1,500 was revised down to 1,200. Therefore, employment in these sectors now stands 5.49 percent higher than in February, 2020 – better than the 4.62 percent calculable last month.

The medicines subsector containing vaccines expanded employment by 700 in October – down from September’s 1,700, but better than August’s 400. These results mean that this industry’s workforce is now 13.25 percent larger than in February, 2020.

U.S. aerospace giant Boeing’s manufacturing and safety problems have depressed employment in aircraft production along with the pandemic’s restrictions on travel, and payrolls improved by just 300 on month in October following an unrevised drop of 500 in September. But help may be on the way, with China having just decided that its troubled 737 Max model has passed safety inspections and may return to the China market after a two-year ban that greatly reduced the company’s – and overall U.S. – exports.

So although the American aircraft industry’s workforce in October was still 8.12 percent smaller than it was just before the CCP Virus era (down from the 8.24 percent shrinkage calculable last month), look for the sector to start closing the gap meaningfully.

Good news sure could be used by the U.S. aircraft engines and engine parts industry. In October, its employment dipped by 100, and September’s initially reported jobs gain of 600 has been downgraded to 400. This sector’s workforce is now down 13.82 percent since immediate pre-pandemic-y February, 2020 – more than the 13.49 percent calculable last month.

The situation in non-engine aircraft parts and equipment was a good deal better. It grew payrolls by just 100 in October, but September’s initually reported jobs increase of 900 is now pegged at 1,200 – the best such performance since April, 2008. Consequently, whereas employment in this sector as of last month’s data was 15.82 percent less than in February, 2020, the figure is now 15.48 percent.

A significant Boeing comeback would add to the tailwinds identifiable behind the manufacturing jobs scene at this time. Others of course are the expected continued strong growth of the entire economy, a possibly stronger recovery globally, an easing of the supply chain crisis, the prospect of infrastructure bill money starting to be spent, and the seemingly shrinking odds that manufacturers and other U.S.-based businesses will face significant tax increases related to the Biden administration’s Build Back Better legislation.

Not that clouds are gone from the scene completely. Inflation seems to be picking up (although so far, and by the same token, manufacturers in toto have been able to pass on price increases to business and household customers). A defeat or postponement of Build Back Better will reduce the amount of government stimulus supporting consumer spending – and if the Federal Reserve follows through with its decision to start cutting back on some of its own stimulus, contractionary forces will strengthen. And of course there’s the virus wild card that’s just appeared in the form of the Omicron variant.

Still, the tailwinds now seem more impressive than the clouds, so I’m still optimistic about the future of manufacturing’s jobs recovery.