The slide in U.S. manufacturing employment continued in May, with 7,000 more jobs -- mainly in apparel, plastics and rubber -- disappearing during the month, the U.S. Labor Department reported on June 3. Since August 2004, U.S. manufacturing has lost 67,000 jobs.
In contrast to manufacturing, construction, another important segment of the U.S. goods-producing sector, added 20,000 jobs in May. Employment in U.S. construction has increased by 34,000 since its most recent low in February 2004.
Overall, the nonfarm sector of the U.S. economy added 78,000 jobs in May, about 30% of the 274,000 jobs created in April and only about half the number of new jobs the economy needs each month just to keep up with U.S. population growth. "The three-month trend of 158,000 in payrolls [added] shows a clear deceleration in labor demand and is consistent with other indicators that show the economy is slowing," notes Merrill Lynch & Co., New York.
In May, the national unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.1%, as 132,000 people dropped out of the workforce.