Via the American Chemistry Council, their weekly report of economic trends:
Nonfarm payrolls grew by 390,000 in May, the smallest monthly gain since April 2021. Notable job gains were in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services and transportation and warehousing. Employment in retail trade declined. Employment remains below pre-Covid levels by 822,000. Manufacturing payrolls grew by 18,000, the 13th month of consecutive monthly gains. Average hourly wages for non-supervisory and production workers grew by 6.5% Y/Y to $27.33, the slowest annual pace since December. The labor force grew and most new entrants moved into the ranks of the employed. The participation rate ticked up to 60.1%, tying March for the highest rate since the pandemic began. The unemployment rate remained steady for a third month at 3.6%.
Chemical industry employment
Chemical industry employment (including pharmaceuticals) rose by 3,700 (0.4%) in May as gains in production workers offset a decline in supervisory and non-production workers. Compared to a year ago, chemical industry employment was up by 27,400 (3.2% Y/Y). Average hourly wages in chemical manufacturing rose 1.4% Y/Y to $27.12. The average workweek expanded by ½ hour to 41.2 hours. Combined with employment gains, the labor input into the chemical industry was up 2.2% which was consistent with the ISM Manufacturing PMI report that suggested the chemical industry experienced moderate-to-strong growth in May.
Within the details of the ISM Manufacturing PMI report, chemical products was listed as one of the industries reporting moderate-to-strong growth in May. Chemical industry respondents reported growth in new orders, higher inventories, increased employment growth, new export orders, and imports and paying higher prices for raw materials in May. They reported no change in order backlogs, that customer inventories were “too low” and slower supplier deliveries reflecting continued obstacles across the supply chain, with labor and through the transportation and distribution network. One plastics and rubber products respondent provided a comment: “Price increases haven’t let up. I thought 2022 was going to be better, but it hasn’t been. Shortages (among other issues) are disrupting the supply chain.”
Mostly good news, it seems.