US industrial production up in December

Industry is the backbone of the American economy, and when the former does well, the latter will follow. Increased production and an expanding economy make for better jobs growth.The latest federal data on industrial production showed better than forecasted gains in the last month of 2012, which is likely encouraging for businesses and manufacturing recruiters.

Overall production up 0.3 percent
New figures from the Federal Reserve show U.S. industrial production rose 0.3 percent month-over-month in December. November also saw an uptick in production of 1 percent, largely due to East Coast businesses recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Overall, output was 2.2 percentage points higher in December 2012 than it was one year earlier.

The news is especially good for manufacturing, which saw its production rise 0.8 percent in December, following a 1.3 percent increase in November. Year-over-year gains in December for manufacturing stood at 2.4 percent.

Production for both durables and nondurables was up in December, increasing 1 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. However, while durable production was up 5.4 percent on the year, nondurable production decreased .2 percent compared to 2011.

Durable production gains were in part driven by a 2.9 percent increase in primary metals output and a 1.5 percent rise in computer and electronic products. Gains in chemical, 1.4 percent, and apparel and leather, 1.9 percent, led nondurable production.

Auto makes strides in late 2012
One of the most important insights provided by the Fed data was the big increase in automotive production. Output for motor vehicles and parts was up 2.6 percent in December 2012 and grew 17.2 percent compared to December 2011.

U.S. automakers assembled some 10.7 million total vehicles in December, up from 2012′s monthly average of 10.3 million and on par with pre-recession level production. Expanding operations are also fueling new hiring intentions among top tier auto producers that manufacturing recruiters can help carry out.

Ford recently announced it would add 2,200 manufacturing and technology jobs in its largest white-collar hiring spree in more than a decade. Additionally, Chrysler indicated it intends to finish a never-completed transmission plant in central Indiana that could bring 850 jobs to the area.