CHICAGO Primary metal producers shed 2,900 jobs in
February, with employment dipping 0.7 percent, following the
loss of only 100 jobs in January, U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics data show.
Metal fabrication shops added
5,600 people to their payrolls in February, more than making up
for a headcount reduction of 4,900 in January, the
not-seasonally-adjusted figures indicate.
Employment in primary metals
production fell 1.1 percent compared with February last year,
but metal fabrication employment grew by 2.7 percent.
The manufacturing sector as a
whole added 12,000 jobs last month after cutting 85,000 people
in January. Auto industry employment increased 1,600 jobs in
February, but machinery manufacturers shed 2,400 workers.
unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent the
previous month, the bureau reported.
Economists expect the budget
sequestration will prompt employers to step back.
"The sequester will take its
toll on job creation in coming months, although within the
federal government the hit will be absorbed more in reduced
working hours than in (layoffs)," Nigel Gault, chief U.S.
economist at Lexington, Mass.-based IHS Global Insight Inc.,
said. "If the sequester lasts all year, it will take around
400,000 off the job counta significant impact, but not
enough to derail the private-sector recovery."
better-than-expected results (in February) signal a faster
underlying trend in job growthand whether it can
withstand the fiscal drag from the sequesterhas yet to be
seen," said Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the
Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,
Washington. He predicted that the sequester is "likely to
reduce growth by about half a percent and kill a bunch of jobs,