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How Did Manufacturing & Construction Fare in March Employment Reports?

April 2, 2009

The employment numbers out today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not great - we have now hit 8.5% unemployment nationally. Since December 2007, the U.S. has lost 5.1 million jobs, with two-thirds of that decrease happening in the past five months. Job losses were widespread.
Wholesale trade saw a decline of 31,000 in March, with nearly all the decline in durable goods.
How did manufacturing and construction fare?
According to data found here, manufacturing employment in March fell by 161,000, with widespread losses among component industries. Factory employment fell by 1 million over the past six months. The largest decreases in March were in fabricated metal products, machinery and transportation equipment.
The construction industry lost 126,000 jobs in March, with declines occurring throughout the industry. Employment has fallen by 1.3 million since peaking in January 2007. Nearly half that decline occurred over the past five months. The biggest March decreases were seen in specialty trade contractors and construction of buildings and split evenly between residential and nonresidential.
Other breakdowns by sector in March:

  • Mining and logging, -18,000

  • Retail trade employment, -48,000

  • Building material and garden supply stores, -13,000

  • Auto dealerships, -12,000

  • Electronics and appliance stores, -10,000

  • Financial activities, -43,000

  • Leisure and hospitality, -40,000

  • Transportation and warehousing, -34,000

And a positive report: Health care employment went up 14,000, though it is increasing at a less quick pace."

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