Board Converting News, May 17, 2021

Manufacturing Employment Fell By 18,000 In April: NAM BY CHAD MOUTRAY

The unemployment rate edged up from 6.0 percent in March to 6.1 percent in April, with the number of unem- ployed workers rising from 9,710,000 to 9,812,000. The labor force participation rate rose for the second straight month, up from 61.5 percent to 61.7 percent, an eight- month high. Businesses continue to cite difficulties in finding enough talent, and manufacturers will need to identify 2.1 million more workers for the sector between now and 2030, according to new analysis from The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte. Encouragingly, on the labor market front, initial unemployment claims fell to 498,000 for the week ending May 1, the lowest since the pandemic began. The ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index pulled back from 64.7 in March, the fastest pace since De- cember 1983, to 60.7 in April. New orders and production continued to expand very strongly, but supply chain dis- ruptions remained a significant challenge. Prices soared

Manufacturing employment fell by 18,000 in April, pulling back from solid gains in the prior two months, according to Chad Moutray, Ph.D. and Chief Economist at the National Asso- ciation of Manufacturers (NAM). The U.S. economy adding just 266,000 nonfarm payroll workers in April. This was a disappointing and somewhat unexpected re- port given the rebound in the U.S. economy, but it should not take away from the outlook for solid employment growth over the coming months. Chad Moutray

at the fastest rate since July 2008, and the backlog of orders was the highest on re- cord. New orders for manufactured goods rose 1.1 percent in March. Overall, factory orders continued to rebound strongly, ris- ing 3.3 percent since February 2020, or 5.7 percent with transportation equipment excluded. Durable goods orders increased even stronger, rising 4.3 percent over the past 13 months or 11.1 percent with transpor- tation equipment excluded. Likewise, new orders for core capital goods—a proxy for capital spending in the U.S. economy—increased 1.2 percent to $73.4 billion in March, a record high. As such, core capital goods orders have ris- en a robust 10.5 percent over the past 13 months, buoyed by confidence in the eco- nomic outlook. Manufacturing labor productivity edged up 0.1 percent at the annual rate in the first quarter, sustaining the 4.5 percent gain in the fourth quarter. Output in the sector rose a modest 2.4 percent in the first quarter, but these data likely reflect supply chain disrup- tions in the sector. Private manufacturing construction spending fell 1.3 percent from the six-month high of $70.10 billion in February to $69.16 billion in March, pulling back following two straight months of gains. The U.S. trade deficit rose to $74.45 billion in March, an all-time high. Trade vol- umes were higher overall, but growth in imports (which also hit a new record) out- paced the rise in exports. The service-sec- tor trade surplus hit the lowest level since August 2012.

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May 17, 2021

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