For the month of April, there were good gains in both construction and manufacturing. The total number of seasonally adjusted (SA), non-farm people employed in the U.S. in April was 148.424 million (M), an increase of 0.11% month on month, (m/m).
The SA service providing sector employed 127.865M people in April, up 115,000 jobs, 0.09% m/m and higher by 1.927M or 1.5% y/y. Service providing employment in February accounting for 86.3% of the non-farm workforce, up 0.10 point month on month.
The SA goods producing sector employed 20.559M people in April, up 49,000 m/m and up by 590,000 or 2.9% y/y. On a percentage basis, the goods producing sector is creating twice as many jobs as the service providing segment, a significant change.
Figure 1 shows manufacturing and construction employment on the same chart from 2005 to present. Both manufacturing and construction employment are showing growth, construction is growing at a faster rate on a percentage basis.
The SA manufacturing sector employed 12.655M in April, up 24,000 m/m and higher by 245,000 (2.0%), y/y. The two largest employment categories within manufacturing are motor vehicles and parts and transportation equipment. There were 964,800 employed in the manufacture of motor vehicles and parts, +3,300 change m/m. On a y/y basis, jobs in this sector were higher by 22,200 or +2.40%. The transportation equipment field employed 1.651M. Jobs in this sector were up by 1,800 m/m and were stronger by 36,400 y/y.
The construction sector employed a total of 7.174M, up 17,000, (0.27%), m/m and up by 257,000, (3.7%), y/y. Most construction workers are employed constructing buildings. In April there were 1.595M workers constructing buildings, up 8,800 m/m and up 62,700, +3.5% y/y. Heavy civil engineering was the next largest construction segment employing 998,900 in April, down 3,400 m/m and higher by 11,500 or +2.0% y/y. Highway, streets and bridge construction, (not SA) employed 277,600, up 15,800 m/m, but down 2,100 y/y. Industrial building construction, (not SA) employed 173,500, down 7,000 m/m, but higher by 2,600 y/y. This was the second month in a row of significant job increase in this sector after a period of decline over the holiday season in 2017.
At Gerdau, we keep a keen eye on the employment numbers, especially manufacturing and construction since this is where most long product steel ends-up. In addition we know that growth in net job creation correlates to increased steel consumption.