April Jobs Report: 253k Jobs Added, Manufacturing and Engineering Sectors Contribute

253k jobs added, with Manufacturing and Engineering sectors contributing 15k job additions.

Another 253k jobs were added and unemployment went down to 3.4% in April’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Jobs Report. Professional, scientific and technical services, the sector that includes Engineering, added 45k jobs with engineering contributing to 5k of those jobs. Manufacturing saw an increase, with the gain of 10k jobs last month. 

Analysts had predicted much lower job gains (+180k predicted) and an increase in unemployment rate (3.6% predicted), so, once again the jobs report is outperforming analyst expectations.

Friday's jobs report comes after the Federal Reserve voted this week to raise its benchmark interest rate by another 0.25%, bringing the fed funds rate above 5% for the first time since September 2007. The labor market remains very tight, but with an uptick in participation among prime age workers (or those 25-54), as well as moderating wage gains and a drop in job openings, which just hit their lowest since April of 2021, there are some signs that supply and demand are coming back into better balance.  

Overall, though, labor demand still substantially exceeds the supply of available workers.

Businesses have managed to get back on track from the COVID-19 pandemic and their needs are rising again at a rapid pace. Despite many organizations turning to layoffs and hiring freezes in Q1, our Progressive experts are still seeing a major need for skilled STEM talent to fill huge gaps in the engineering industry.

Key Engineering Industry Jobs Report Insights

Total Jobs Added: +253k

Jobs Added in Professional, Scientific and Technical Sector: +45k

Jobs Added in Engineering: +5k

Jobs Added in Manufacturing: +10k

Hot Manufacturing & Energy Jobs Right Now

Solar continues to be fast-growing and well-paying for workers – with many positions not requiring experience or a college degree. For example, wind turbine service technician jobs are expected to grow 68% from 2020 to 2030 with a median wage of more than $56,000. Solar panel installer positions are also expected to grow more than 50% in that same time frame.

Audio and video equipment and metalworking machinery are the two manufacturing industries with the greatest gains in productivity from 2019 to 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

STEM-related jobs are expected to increase by nearly 800,000 by 2031, according to a recent SmartAsset study. Even more enticing, many STEM positions pay at least $100,000 in annual salary. Examples include computer hardware engineers, information security analysts and biophysicists.

Read more: Energy & Manufacturing Career Outlooks

Recruiting The Next Generation For Manufacturing Jobs

There are aggressive efforts nationwide to recruit younger generations into the manufacturing and energy sectors – and the applicants are showing up.

  • The share of Minnesota manufacturing employees younger than 45 reached its highest rate (more than 52%) in at least a decade.
  • The “Creators Wanted Tour” is a nationwide campaign targeting middle and high schoolers for manufacturing careers. Its goal is to help fill nearly 700,000 open manufacturing jobs in the U.S. right now. The president of the Manufacturing Institute says that number could grow to 4 million by the end of the decade.
  • AmSkills opened a training facility in Florida for manufacturing jobs and is currently training high school students. It also has a mobile unit that travels throughout the local area to provide hands-on experience.
  • Intel invested more than $20 billion to construct two leading-edge chip factories in Ohio to meet demand for semiconductors. Initial phase is expected to create 3,000 Intel jobs.

Read more: 2023 Engineering Market Report

The manufacturing industry actually saw a drop in the number of people leaving their jobs in the early part of 2023 – from 391,000 separations in January to 374,000 in February. Employers know how challenging it can be to recruit and retain quality talent.

“Given how difficult it has been to find labor and keep it, manufacturing companies are going to do everything they can to try to avoid layoffs,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at forecasting firm Maria Fiorini Ramirez, to CNN.

Employers are putting greater emphasis on retention. The Conference Board surveyed 172 chief human resource officers in early 2023 and 45% said they expect employee retention to increase in the next six months.

Custom Staffing Solutions For Top Talent & Companies

Progressive Recruitment is constantly connecting the best engineering talent with the top renewable energy, oil & gas, power & utilities, and manufacturing companies in the U.S. Our consultants are up to date on the latest market trends, allowing us to offer truly in-depth solutions regarding your unique challenges. Contact us today to connect with top talent or to accelerate your engineering career.

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