The manufacturing industry posted net job gains of 284,000 over 2018, capping its best calendar year since 1997.
A priority for President Donald Trump, manufacturing saw marked hiring in December with an additional 32,000 jobs. Most of the gains occurred in blue-collar durable goods manufacturing, with growth in fabricated metals and computer and electronic products, the Labor Department said in its release. The definition of durable goods is items with a life expectancy of three years or more, such as automobiles, furniture and machinery.
Manufacturing added 207,000 jobs in 2017.
"Manufacturers are bringing people back into the workforce, and we need this trend to continue," said Dr. Chad Moutray, chief economist at the National Association of Manufacturers. "Our industry currently faces a workforce crisis with more than half a million open jobs today, and 2.4 million jobs expected to go unfilled over the next decade. Closing the skills gap continues to be the top challenge facing manufacturers in the United States and is absolutely essential to ensuring that the sector continues to grow."