By John S. McClenahen The manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy may be in a strong, if belated, recovery from the 2001 recession. But employment in manufacturing continues to lag well behind rising demand for products. U.S. manufacturers shed another 5,000 jobs in November, the U.S. Labor Department reported on Dec. 3. Manufacturing employment is now 14.4 million workers. "The lack of a strong recovery in manufacturing employment over the last few months, coupled with strong production data from multiple sources inside and outside of government, is an early indication that productivity is continuing to grow at a brisk pace in the fourth quarter. [And] while dampening demand for new employment, strong productivity growth should also keep wage inflation in-check over the coming months," says David Huether, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, D.C. Manufacturing's job loss came in the context of a fewer-than-expected number of jobs being created throughout the U.S. economy during November. Overall, the economy created 112,000 jobs in November, about 100,000 fewer than many economists were predicting and nearly 200,000 fewer than the 303,000 jobs the Labor Department now says were created in October. Huether's bottom line: "The Federal Reserve should take [Friday's] employment report as a signal that it may not need to raise interest rates at all at its Dec. 14 meeting."