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Nation has gained 288,000 manufacturing jobs this year

Workers build washing machines on the assembly line at the Samsung washing machine facility in Newberry, S.C. 

Though industrial employment in the United States is well below its peak of 19.5 million in 1979, at a time when U.S. factories are more productive than ever, the manufacturing sector has gained 288,000 jobs so far this year.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the United States gained 27,000 more factory jobs in November. Heavy industry remains one of the largest employers in Northwest Indiana and long has been a pillar of the Region's economy.

"November was yet again another good month for American factory workers. With 27,000 new jobs last month, manufacturing continues to add jobs that are providing opportunities for workers throughout the country," said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for Manufacturing, a collaboration between the United Steelworkers union and top manufacturing companies.

"This means that the administration has a strong hand to play headed into vital trade talks with China. Metal workers saw job gains as new investments were made in steel and aluminum facilities."

Overall, the United States added 155,000 more jobs in November.

“With 155,000 net new jobs, this month’s growth reflected continued slowing of employment growth, which we’ve seen over the past six months,” said Michael Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

“Revisions from the past two months, reflecting additional data, saw reductions of previous estimates that brought the annual average monthly growth to 170,000, a significant decline from 2017. Labor force growth appears to be slowing, which is unexpected given the lengthy holiday hiring season.”

The national unemployment rate stands at 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969. Wages rose by 0.2 percent over the year.

"This jobs report does not signal a business cycle, but is part of a trend of slower labor market growth over the past six months," Hicks said. "Employment is a lagging economic indicator, so today’s report is unlikely to boost confidence that the economy is poised for a continued lengthy expansion.”

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.