Strong hiring in the manufacturing, transportation and warehousing and health-care sectors during April helped the U.S. economy notch its 12th straight month of job gains of 400,000 or more.
The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, the same gain as in March and following a jump of 714,000 in February and 504,000 in January.
Manufacturing, the industry that saw the largest one-month pop in job gains, added 55,000 jobs during the first month of the second calendar quarter.
Government economists said the majority of manufacturers’ gains came from hiring at durable goods plants. Wood product producers added 3,600 positions, machinery makers tacked on 7,400 and businesses that craft transportation equipment — including motor vehicle parts — added 13,700 jobs.
Department of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh touted the past year’s healthy jobs figures and acknowledged manufacturers’ solid performance last month.
“We’re seeing [strong numbers in] the manufacturing sector – we saw some great growth, we’re very happy about that,” Walsh told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” Friday morning. “We saw some good in retail as well. Not just the online side, we saw it in the stores.”
Walsh’s boss, President Joe Biden, is visiting Cincinnati on Friday to promote advanced manufacturing and is expected to offer comments later in the day on the administration’s efforts to grow domestic production in the coming years.
Retailers, which market and sell goods to American consumers, added 29,200 jobs in April.
While retail employment statistics have been volatile in recent years thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic and government-imposed lockdowns, those figures are routinely susceptible to seasonal shopping trends. Stores tend to bulk up on staff in the fall and winter to prepare for the busy holiday season, and trim down payrolls in the spring and summer.
The Labor Department does attempt to control for those seasonal variations, but even with those statistical control, retail’s gain of 29,200 represents the sector’s best April jobs performance since 2014.
Leisure and hospitality, which includes hotels, restaurants and amusement parks, added a net 78,000 jobs in the fourth month of 2022. Within the industry, restaurants and bars added 43,800 jobs, hotels and other lodging businesses tacked on 22,300 and performing arts and spectator sports businesses added 13,300.
Despite a long string of robust monthly job gains, employment in leisure and hospitality is still down by 1.4 million, or 8.5%, since February 2020.
Transportation and warehousing, an industry scrutinized for potential supply chain relief, also posted a solid month of job creation with a net gain of 52,000. The Labor Department said that warehousing and storage facilities added 17,000 jobs, couriers and messengers rose by15,000, truck transportation gained 13,000, and air transportation climbed 4,000.
Employment in transportation and warehousing is 674,000 above its February 2020 level, led by strong growth in warehousing and storage and in couriers and messengers, which have risen by 467,000 and 259,000, respectively, since Covid-19 reached U.S. shores.
The broad health and social services sector added 34,000 to payrolls, thanks in large part to gains among “ambulatory health care” workers, a broad definition that includes private doctors’ and dentists’ offices and other outpatient care facilities.
— CNBC’s Crystal Mercedes contributed reporting.