U.S. Manufacturing Sheds Jobs In March

April 1, 2005
The manufacturing sector shed 8,000 more jobs in March as the nonfarm U.S. economy created 110,000 new jobs, just half of the 220,000 new jobs that economists generally expected. Most of the jobs lost in manufacturing last month were in apparel, down by ...

The manufacturing sector shed 8,000 more jobs in March as the nonfarm U.S. economy created 110,000 new jobs, just half of the 220,000 new jobs that economists generally expected. Most of the jobs lost in manufacturing last month were in apparel, down by 5,000 jobs, and textiles, which lost 2,000 jobs, as both segments "continued to experience long-term job declines," the U.S. Labor Department stated when reporting the March employment numbers on April 1.

"Productivity must be booming in manufacturing-either that or industrial activity is fading away pretty quickly," says Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. "Factory payrolls defied expectations by dropping 8,000 and the manufacturing workweek slid 0.2% for the month-the second month in a row," its analysts note.

The employment news was considerably better in construction and mining, which together with manufacturing and mining constitute the goods-producing segment of the economy. Construction jobs increased by 26,000 in March, following a 31,000 increase in February. With 5,300 jobs added in March, mining employment rose for the fifth consecutive month.

Overall, the U.S. jobless rate fell to 5.2% last month from 5.4% in February, but that's largely because there were 326,000 fewer people in the nation's labor pool in March, figures Merrill. The investment firm characterizes last Friday's Labor Department numbers as "entirely disappointing . . . especially in the context of a business cycle expansion that is well into year number four." Still, its economists do not expect the Federal Open Market Committee to abandon its "measured" tightening of the U.S. money supply anytime soon. "Fed Chairman [Alan] Greenspan et al are likely to look at the average nonfarm payroll numbers over the past three months just a shade below 160,000 and conclude that the labor market is still robust, even if that tally is below the 190,000 average over the prior three months," says Merrill.

About the Author

John McClenahen | Former Senior Editor, IndustryWeek

 John S. McClenahen, is an occasional essayist on the Web site of IndustryWeek, the executive management publication from which he retired in 2006. He began his journalism career as a broadcast journalist at Westinghouse Broadcasting’s KYW in Cleveland, Ohio. In May 1967, he joined Penton Media Inc. in Cleveland and in September 1967 was transferred to Washington, DC, the base from which for nearly 40 years he wrote primarily about national and international economics and politics, and corporate social responsibility.
      McClenahen, a native of Ohio now residing in Maryland, is an award-winning writer and photographer. He is the author of three books of poetry, most recently An Unexpected Poet (2013), and several books of photographs, including Black, White, and Shades of Grey (2014). He also is the author of a children’s book, Henry at His Beach (2014).
      His photograph “Provincetown: Fog Rising 2004” was selected for the Smithsonian Institution’s 2011 juried exhibition Artists at Work and displayed in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., from June until October 2011. Five of his photographs are in the collection of St. Lawrence University and displayed on campus in Canton, New York.
      John McClenahen’s essay “Incorporating America: Whitman in Context” was designated one of the five best works published in The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies during the twelve-year editorship of R. Barry Leavis of Rollins College. John McClenahen’s several journalism prizes include the coveted Jesse H. Neal Award. He also is the author of the commemorative poem “Upon 50 Years,” celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Wolfson College Cambridge, and appearing in “The Wolfson Review.”
      John McClenahen received a B.A. (English with a minor in government) from St. Lawrence University, an M.A., (English) from Western Reserve University, and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University, where he also pursued doctoral studies. At St. Lawrence University, he was elected to academic honor societies in English and government and to Omicron Delta Kappa, the University’s highest undergraduate honor. John McClenahen was a participant in the 32nd Annual Wharton Seminars for Journalists at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. During the Easter Term of the 1986 academic year, John McClenahen was the first American to hold a prestigious Press Fellowship at Wolfson College, Cambridge, in the United Kingdom.
      John McClenahen has served on the Editorial Board of Confluence: The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies and was co-founder and first editor of Liberal Studies at Georgetown. He has been a volunteer researcher on the William Steinway Diary Project at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., and has been an assistant professorial lecturer at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


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