Manufacturing experiences impressive job gains in October

After tumultuous summer, manufacturing employment is back on track. In October, 19,000 manufacturing jobs were added in the U.S., according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The gains are the highest since February when 23,000 jobs were added.

A variety of sectors excelled particularly well. BLS noted that about 6,000 jobs were added in the motor vehicles and parts sector, 3,000 appeared in wood products and another 3,000 were found in furniture and related products. Industry experts applauded the results, as revealed in a statement from the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

"Now we have a jobs report that we can cheer about," commented Scott Paul, President of AAM. "Despite all the chaos in Washington last month. Manufacturing jobs grew at a healthy clip, and it's about time."

Paul added that before October, only 12,000 jobs had been added in manufacturing all year. Starting in March, manufacturing jobs decreased each month until a gain of 15,000 was reported in August. Growth has continued into the fall, with the latest figures indicating a net gain of 35,000 jobs in 2013.

Political 'crisis'
As Paul remarked, the hiring plans of manufacturing companies did not appear to be affected by the deadlock in Congress during October. Occurring the first half of the month, the partial government shutdown put more than 800,000 federal workers on temporary leave and halted federal contracts, which would have negatively affected manufacturers who serve the fed as a client. Furthermore, fears of a budget default prompted a drop in consumer confidence. Buyers were extra cautious about making new purchases and some producers were on the fence about spending their capital.

The job report, however, paints a different picture. They show U.S. manufacturers, on average, were eager to invest their workforce rather than cut costs. Given the resilience of the industry during political turmoil and the trend of positive growth this fall, manufacturing jobs could see a robust net gain by the end of the year.

BLS also reported that employees were slightly overworked – the average workweek was recorded as 40.9 hours and overtime was 3.4 hours – which further suggests that companies could soon be looking for more workers to relieve the strain. Unfortunately, many firms could be challenged by a widely-reported shortage of skilled workers. Many will likely turn to manufacturing recruiters to assist the search. Recruiters who specialize in industrial sectors can help firms pinpoint applicants with particular skills and experience.