Manufacturing became a bit less of a job laggard in July, as its 28,000 jobs gain was the best monthly improvement since November’s 35,000 and year-on-year hiring continued to pick up. Upward revisions for May and June helped as well. But inflation-adjusted manufacturing wages are still stagnant at best and falling faster than real private sector wages, and the big non-durable goods sector still has not gained any net new jobs since April, 2010.
July’s increase represented a second straight month of 20,000-plus manufacturing job gains. In addition, net new jobs for the sector in June were revised up from 16,000 to 23,000, and May’s figure was revised up from 11,000 to 15,000.
Net new manufacturing job creation has sped up this year, too – from 79,000 in January to 178,000 in July. The 107,857 average monthly year-on-year gain for 2014 has now nearly caught up to last year’s 109,400. But it remains at only half the pace of 2012.
Manufacturing’s better job performance, however, still has not translated into better wages for employees. Real wages in the sector rose 0.19 percent from May to June (the latest available figures). But they fell 0.19 percent year-on-year.
Since the recovery technically began in June, 2009, real manufacturing wages have dropped by 2.52 percent – much more than the 0.29 percent dip for real wages throughout the private sector. Moreover, on a year-on-year basis, real manufacturing wages have deteriorated. In January, they increased by 0.96 percent over their January, 2013 level.
Moreover, employment in the big nondurables manufacturing sector fell by another 2,000 positions in July. Employment in nondurable goods (4.465 million workers) is now down on net for more than four years, dating back to April, 2010 (when it stood at 4.470 million workers).
Still, the recent gains enabled manufacturing’s share of total nonfarm employment to recover slightly in July from its record low of 8.73 percent to 8.75 percent. At the same time, that level is still way below the 10.69 percent of total nonfarm employment the sector comprised in February, 2010, its absolute employment nadir during the recession.
Since the manufacturing and total nonfarm employment recessionary bottom of February, 2010, manufacturing has regained 707,000 (30.83 percent) of the 2.293 million jobs it lost once the economic downturn officially began in December, 2007. From the recession’s onset through February, 2010, total nonfarm payrolls plunged by 8.787 million. Since then, total nonfarm employment has risen by 9.349 million – 13.22 times faster than manufacturing employment. As a result, this total nonfarm jobs figure is now 562,000 higher than at the recession’s onset.