The nation’s overall unemployment rate fell to a five-year low in October, but the jobs scene within the manufacturing sector wasn’t quite as upbeat.
The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent, as companies added 92,000 workers to their payrolls. The jobless rate is at lowest level since May of 2001, and job creation in August and September was also revised sharply higher.
The manufacturing sector lost 39,000 jobs last month, with plastics and rubber products accounting for 14,000 of those, primarily due to strikes in rubber products manufacturing. Motor vehicles and parts shrank by 15,000 jobs, and wood products lost 5,000 jobs.
The report comes at a time when economic indicators in the U.S. are pointing to a slowing a economy, and the good news on the employment front is likely to quiet talk that the Federal Reserve might consider lowering interest rates in the near future. While that may not go over well within the manufacturing community, the underlying job growth suggests business in general remains strong.
In the goods-producing sector, mining employment grew by 5,000 in October. Over the last 12 months, mining has added 54,000 jobs. Construction lost 26,000 jobs in October as employment declines in residential specialty trade contractors more than offset gains in nonresidential specialty trades.
Since its most recent peak in February, employment in residential specialty trades has declined by 99,000, the Labor Department said.