Manufacturers are shedding workers despite Trump claims of growth: report
Donald Trump jokes with reporters after greeting Harley-Davidson executives on the South Lawn of the White House. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP

Lost in the goods news in Friday's jobs report that showed the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.8%, was bad news from the manufacturing sector that saw a decline in jobs while other sectors were up.

In fact, manufacturers experienced its "first month-over-month decline since July 2017."

According to an analyst at Bloomberg, manufacturers -- a focus of President Donald Trump's economic plans in states he needs to hang onto in 2020 -- are instead shedding workers and have been since the beginning of the year.

"Amid a generally pretty good jobs report Friday, one negative that stood out was that the manufacturing sector — which had been adding employment at a faster pace than the rest of the economy for the past two years — actually shed 6,000 jobs in March," analyst Justin Fox wrote.

"The culprit was mainly the automobile industry, as employment in motor vehicles and parts manufacturing fell by 6,300. But there weren’t really any super-hot manufacturing sectors. Also, while the numbers above are all seasonally adjusted, and the unadjusted data show a gain of 6,000 manufacturing jobs in March, it also shows a loss of 47,000 jobs since December, compared with a gain of 10,000 over that same period a year ago," he continued.

Saying the downturn is "worthy of note," Fox said it should be concerning, writing, "It’ll be a few more months before we know whether this is a blip or something bigger."

According to the analyst, he believes that Trump has been claiming gains based upon what he described as, "mainly a continuation of the 'Obama economy' that preceded it, a period of slow but long-lasting growth with some interesting characteristics."

"Without productivity growth, though, the prospects for faster economic growth and bigger wage gains dim," he concluded. " There is, as [Harvard economist Robert Z. ] Lawrence argued, a trade-off. Still, this at least offers the possibility of a silver lining to the recent factory jobs slowdown — maybe it’s a sign that manufacturing productivity growth is about to pick up a little."

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