This economic recovery has been plagued by slow recovery in employment levels. That said, manufacturing employment recovery is actually surpassing the expectations of many economists, according to MAPI economist Cliff Waldman.
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Since February 2010, manufacturing has added about 429,000 jobs, which works out to an average of 18,000 jobs per month – what Waldman calls a "moderate average."
What's behind this trend? "The lion's share of the strength in manufacturing employment as of late has been in the durable goods sector," Waldman says. And in recent months, that appears to have been driven in part by the rebound in motor vehicle and parts demand.
In the fourth quarter of 2011, U.S. motor vehicle output increased 20.4 percent, according the Bureau of Economic Analysis. And the trend is expected to continue, with industry forecasting company TrueCar.com forecasting March 2012 sales to be at the highest levels since 2007.
With that translate to even more employment recovery in the sector? Only time will tell.
Cliff Waldman is featured in the April 2012 Economic Update podcast, available at www.mdm.com/economic-update.