Manufacturing Employment Approaching Pre-Pandemic Level, Consumer Confidence Edges Down

According to the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Monday Economic Report for this week, manufacturing employment rose by 18,000 in May, slowing from the gain of 61,000 seen in April and marking the weakest monthly increase in over a year. Net hiring in the durable and nondurable goods sectors was 11,000 and 7,000, respectively. Through the first five months of 2022, the sector hired 213,000 employees, building on the 365,000 workers added in 2021. Currently, the manufacturing sector has 12,768,000 employees, with 17,000 fewer workers today relative to February 2020.

Eight major manufacturing sectors have exceeded their pre-pandemic employment levels as of May: food manufacturing (+41,800), chemicals (+40,600), wood products (+27,900), miscellaneous nondurable goods (+26,500), plastics and rubber products (+20,900), electrical equipment and appliances (+12,600), miscellaneous durable goods (+11,900) and furniture and related products (+2,600).

According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence edged down from 108.6 in April to 106.4 in May. Americans felt less upbeat in their assessments of the current and future economic environment in May, with consumers remaining anxious about inflation and “a perceived softening in labor market conditions.”