Factories Added 38,000 Jobs in October

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But the manufacturing sector is still down more than 620,000 jobs since February.

There are new jobs numbers are out today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy on the whole added 638,000 jobs last month, and the manufacturing sector added 38,000. The official unemployment number dropped to just below 7 percent.

But economists are urging everyone to temper the optimism. The labor pool has some serious problems right now: the number of long-term unemployed is growing, and our unemployment insurance systems and skills training programs aren’t set up to cover people whose jobs may have been permanently disappeared by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the recently re-elected powers that be in Washington are pointing to this jobs report to justify scaling back an economic relief package:

But even if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) somehow manages to strike a bipartisan deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and get a new stimulus package done, the guy who will occupy the White House until at least January 2021 (as of this writing, anyway) isn’t likely to go for it:

So, to recap: the United States gained almost 40,000 factory jobs in October. That’s not small potatoes; the town I grew up in doesn’t have 40,000 people in it. That said, we’re still down 621,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector since February.

What do we do now? The Alliance for American Manufacturing in July wrote to Congress, arguing that industrial policy to encourage domestic hiring and production should be a major part of the next coronavirus economic relief package. We’re still making that now!

Here’s what AAM President Scott Paul had to say about today’s jobs report:

“While it’s good to see that factories added jobs in October, there are still hundreds of thousands of manufacturing workers among the tens of millions of Americans left unemployed by the coronavirus recession. It’s going to take big, bold action to build back the sector. Whether Joe Biden pulls off the win or President Trump is re-elected, it’s time for a major infrastructure and clean energy investment package that will create millions of new jobs and literally lay the groundwork of an economic recovery.”

Paul also made the case for manufacturing as an economic recovery vehicle in the Des Moines Register just this week. Read it here.