Manufacturers continue to be challenged by rising energy costs

By Plant Engineering Staff September 7, 2006

The National Association of Manufacturers pointed to a recent Labor Department employment report as an indication that the economy is continuing to moderate from robust growth that took place earlier in the year.

“The addition of 128,000 jobs in August, on par with the jobs created during the prior two months, shows that the economy is in a decelerating mode,” said David Huether, chief economist of NAM.

“While manufacturing employment fell by 11,000 in August after a 23,000 decline in July, it has edged up by 12,000 to a level of 14.2 million over the past year,” he said. “However, this modest change overshadows an emerging dichotomy within manufacturing: Over the past year, production employment — jobs on the factory floor — have increased by 150,000, while non-production jobs have fallen by 138,000.

“Of the 22 major manufacturing sectors, 10 have added 226,000 jobs over the past 12 months,” Huether said.

“These figures show that, while some manufacturing sectors are benefiting from solid growth in exports and business investment, other sectors are significantly challenged by rising import competition and the effects of high gasoline prices,” he said.