Career Resources

Career Resources

Jobs Report: October Manufacturing

Posted November 8, 2013 & filed under References

Jobs Report: October Manufacturing

The October Jobs Report was released earlier this morning and proved to be much stronger than most experts predicted it would be. Despite the government shutdown, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and an increase in unemployment from 7.2% to 7.3%, the actual number of jobs added is on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 204,000 non-farm jobs were added last month, well ahead of the 120,000 predicated by economists.

Conversely, the labor force participation took a steep plunge last month, dropping from 63.2% to 62.8% (amounting to a decrease of about 720,000 people). A staggering drop – the lowest since March 1978 – but it shouldn’t be a concern for the economy. A large portion of this number represents the federal workers who temporarily found themselves out of work during the government shutdown last month, most of whom have returned to work since then. It is likely that this number will be reversed throughout November.

What’s in it for manufacturers and engineers?

Although the public sector was weak, losing about 12,000 jobs last month, private payrolls were up $212,000. The manufacturing industry saw an increase of 19,000 workers, and 11,000 construction jobs were added as well – both numbers continue an upward trend that has been prevalent over the past few months.

According to surveys as recent as September, 43% of manufacturers have reported that they are hiring and 63% have reported positive growth. The top five positions in demand by manufacturers was reported to be line workers, engineers, skilled trade workers, sales/marketing specialists, and manufacturing/production managers respectively.

Still searching for a new generation

The only caveat to the increases in hiring numbers from manufacturers is the lack of new blood entering the industry. The numbers show that the workforce is still heavily populated by men and women who are 45 or older (only 25% are 30 and under). It is predicted that by 2025, 75% of the workers will be a part of generation Y. Whether or not you believe there is an actual skills gap in the manufacturing industry, the baby boomer generation has begun to retire and it will be imperative for manufacturers to hire and train the younger workers who will inevitably fill these soon-to-be vacant positions.

By Kevin Withers

Read the full BLS report here