The manufacturing sector saw growth in jobs in February and March, but April saw a net loss of 18,000 jobs.
Most of the loss came from motor vehicles and parts, though jobs in durable goods in general also fell.
Manufacturing of wood products fell, perhaps in part because wood prices have nearly tripled during the pandemic. Chemicals, printing, and even food manufacturing also fell.
Rise in wages –maybe
Manufacturing income rose by an average of 17 cents an hour, but this may not be the good news it lookalike.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out, when it reported an overall rise in wages, that this apparent rise reflects the loss of lower-paying jobs. The jobs which were lost in April, and in the pandemic as a whole, have been lower-paying jobs. Losing lower paying jobs while keeping management positions leads to an increase in the average wage, without actually showing any increase in pay for workers.
Looking only at production workers, BLS reports a 5 cent increase, to $23.38 on average.
Where the jobs are
Manufacturing jobs are still much lower than they were before the pandemic. They’re down 515,000 jobs compared with Feruary 2020.
However, there is only one industry that is showing a real bounce back: restaurant and hospitality, which added more than 331,000 jobs in April as restaurants, hotels, and bars reopened across the nation.
One reason for the drop in work for people who build cars is the shortage of semiconductor chips. Just like the shortages of yeast, toilet paper, and eggs, this shortage is the result of complex issues in the supply chain. The share of the world’ chip made in the U.S. has dropped by 2/3 since 1990, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. Demand fell precipitously during the pandemic, makers quit making, and when the demand suddenly surged, the industry was caught with its pants down.
But consumers aren’t flocking to grocery stores to stock up on chips. Instead, the industry is lobbying Congress to support Biden’s plan to reshore motor vehicle-grade chip production.
More robust supply chains with less reliance on foreign workers continues to be a goal for American manufacturing.
In the meantime, if you need service and support for your Rexroth motion control systems, we should be your first call. We specialize in Rexroth electric industrial motion control. We provide factory repair and reman as well as emergency replacement units to get you up and running fast.