Manufacturing Adds 19,000 in January, says Latest Jobs Report

By Matthew McMullan
Feb 03 2023 |
The Federal Reserve building in Washington, D.C. Getty Images

That’s pretty good, all things considered.

It’s jobs day, jobs day, got to get down on jobs day. It’s the first Friday of the month! The new jobs numbers are out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and they have defied expectations: 517,000 jobs were created in January, which was a couple hundred thousand more than most economists predicted.

Only 19,000 of those jobs were in manufacturing. But it’s still growth, even as other indicators suggest the manufacturing sector is contracting. And this growth, argues Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul today, are the continuing effects of bona fide industrial policy being passed by the last Congress, including 2021’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and 2022’s CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act – AKA the big clean energy bill.

But now is no time to take our collective foot off the gas, says Paul:

“Now comes the hard part. Threats remain, and manufacturing will hit a road block if the Fed decides to raise interest rates, for example. And if we want to sustain this job growth over the long term, it’s vital that the work done over the past year and a half is the first step, not the last word. That starts with proper enforcement of the Buy America provisions in the infrastructure law. And it also includes making additional strategic investments in critical sectors.”   

The Fed, which just announced another reduced rate hike this week in its monthslong quest to tame inflation, is likely to come under pressure to hike them again to loosen the job market up. That would be hard on manufacturers. Maybe the Fed should just lay off!