Production occupations are the fastest-growing occupations in 11 states: Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin. The largest recent four-year job growth in this occupation category occurred in the state of Rhode Island, where structural metal fabricators and fitters increased from 230 in 2015 to 1,780 in 2019, almost 674%. Metal and plastic multiple machine tool setters, operators and tenders ranked as the fastest-growing job in two of these states – Arizona and Tennessee. This job involves setting up, operating or tending more than one type of cutting or forming machine or robot. In the four-year period from 2015 to 2019, the number of employees in this job increased by more than 276% in Arizona and by almost 374% in Tennessee. In Maine, metal and plastic milling and planing machine setters, operators and tenders had a four-year growth of 650%.

Michigan created the most net new manufacturing jobs in September, adding 5,200 workers. Other states with notable employment growth for the month included Wisconsin (up 4,800), Maine (up 4,700), Florida (up 3,700), South Carolina (up 3,600), Georgia (up 3,300) and Ohio (up 3,100). Despite gains over the past five months, manufacturing employment figures continue to experience sizable declines due to COVID-19.

The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI edged slightly higher in October, notching the best reading since January 2019, buoyed by strength in new orders. Manufacturers remained upbeat about continued solid growth in production over the coming six months.