Manufacturing employment declined in January

February 4, 2005

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 146,000 in January and the unemployment rate decreased to 5.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Job growth continued in several service-providing industries, while manufacturing employment declined over the month.

The January increase followed job gains averaging 181,000 per month in 2004. Since reaching a trough in May 2003, payroll employment has risen by 2.7 million. Over the month, there were gains in several service providing industries including education and health services, transportation and warehousing, and financial activities.

In January, manufacturing employment declined by 25,000, with widespread, though mostly small, losses among its component industries. Industries registering significant declines included motor vehicles and parts (-10,000), chemicals (-5,000), and semiconductors and electronic components (-2,000). After reaching an employment trough in February 2004, manufacturers added 85,000 workers through August. The trend has since turned downward, and 61,000 jobs have been lost. Construction employment was about unchanged in January, following average monthly gains of 22,000 in 2004.

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