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Manufacturing Data Strong Overall

Manufacturing employment increased by only 18,000 in May, a drop from 61,000 in April and the lowest number in 13 months. However, NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray tells us, hiring in the sector remains robust. He cites the data for the first five months of 2022:

  • “The sector hired 213,000 employees, building on the 365,000 workers added in calendar year 2021, the most since 1994.”

Meanwhile, new data on factory orders and productivity showed manufacturing’s strength, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The numbers: “New orders for manufactured goods rose 0.3% from $531.4 billion in March to a record $533.2 billion in April, slowing from the 1.8% gain seen in March but continuing to reflect expanding demand,” said Moutray.

  • “Despite lingering supply chain, workforce and pricing pressures, the manufacturing sector has proved quite resilient over the past year,” said Moutray. “New factory orders have soared 14.0% year-over-year, or 12.4% with transportation equipment excluded.”

Capital spending: “At the same time, new orders for core capital goods (or nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft)—a proxy for capital spending in the U.S. economy—rose 0.4% from $72.9 billion in March to a record $73.2 billion in April,” said Moutray. “Core capital goods orders increased a solid 7.7% over the past 12 months.”
Productivity: “Manufacturing labor productivity rose 0.2% in the first quarter of 2022, bouncing back somewhat after declining in each of the prior two quarters,” said Moutray.

  • “Output in the sector soared 5.1%, continuing to reflect solid growth in demand for goods despite ongoing challenges with supply chain and workforce issues.”
  • “The number of hours worked rose 4.9% in the first quarter, with unit labor costs up 5.7%.”

Go deeper: Watch for more analysis in Moutray’s Monday Economic Report. 

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