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April Jobs Report Outshines Expectations

Posted May 2, 2014 & filed under Uncategorized

April Jobs Report Outshines Expectations

The April jobs report far surpassed expectations. Employment numbers vaulted beyond the original predictions of economists and unemployment numbers diminished to a five year low. On the surface, the economy is bouncing back. How did the manufacturing and engineering sectors fare in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report?

The BLS big picture

According to Friday’s BLS April jobs report, 288,000 nonfarm payroll jobs were added to the U.S. economy in April. That number is well beyond the original prediction of 218,000 new jobs and the 165,000 jobs added to the workforce in April 2013. Additionally, the March jobs report numbers were revised up from 192,000 to 203,000, which dwarfs the previous year by about 65,000 jobs.

Unemployment ostensibly made progress, but the decrease in the labor force participation rate keep the market from celebrating the entirety of the April jobs report. Certainly, unemployment descended from 6.7 percent in March to 6.3 percent in the current BLS report. However, that decrease may have been the outcome of the labor force participation rate dropping from 63.2 percent to 62.8 percent.

A win for manufacturing & engineering

Most sectors saw an increase in overall employment in the April jobs report and the manufacturing and engineering sectors were no exception. Though neither sector led the charge – that distinction was reserved for the professional services and trade/transportation/utilities sectors– they added to the positive impetus of the market.

12,000 overall jobs were added to the manufacturing sector. The durable goods sector was the work horse that pulled the manufacturing sector forward by adding 11,000 payroll jobs. The automotive industries had the most traction with 5,200 added jobs, followed by machinery manufacturing with 4,200 jobs added.

Though the non-durable goods sector only added 1,000 jobs, there were definitely several sectors that excelled. Plastics and rubber products added 1,600 jobs and the chemicals sector added 1,500 jobs. Overall, the manufacturing numbers further reinforce the assertion that manufacturing is making a resurgence.

The construction sector, which contains the remaining bulwark of the engineering field, added 32,000 jobs overall. The positions added in April jobs report were almost even across the three BLS construction divisions. Building construction added 11,000 jobs, heavy and civil engineering added 10,500, and specialty trade contractors grew by 10,200 jobs. With the need to repair and recuperate in the wake of this winter, it’s no surprise that this number was up substantially.To top it off, architectural and engineering services increased by 3,800 jobs.

More growth on the horizon

There are further indicators that the forward momentum won’t stall after this month. For the second consecutive month, U.S. factory orders increased in March by 1.1 percent. With the steady amount of new employees added to the manufacturing sector and construction demands surging forward, we can expect that number to have increased for April as well.

by James Walsh

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