MarketWatch First Take: The jobs report shows a spike in auto jobs — and that doesn’t pass the smell test

The August jobs report was a mild disappointment in most respects, with lower-than-average job growth, a tick up in the unemployment rate, and tepid wage growth. But there was one area that shone brightly in August: Manufacturing employment, specifically in the auto sector.

The question is, why are auto makers hiring just when sales and production are slowing and while inventories are high? The increase doesn’t pass the smell test.

Hiring (supposedly) jumped to a three-year high at U.S. motor vehicle and parts manufacturing companies in August.

First, the data:

Manufacturing payrolls increased by 36,000 in August, three times as many as usual, and matching the highest monthly gain in four years.

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