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Metals employment rises in December

Keywords: Tags  metals industry employment, unemployment, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, metal producers, metal fabricators, manufacturing, Alliance for American Manufacturing, Scott Paul U.S. Business and Industry Council

CHICAGO — U.S. primary metal producers added 3,700 jobs last month, while employment in the fabricated metal products sector rose by 3,800 workers, according to nonseasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Metal producers’ employment was up 0.9 percent compared with the previous month, while metal fabricators’ employment increased 0.3 percent in the same comparison.

Overall manufacturing, which added 89,000 jobs over the past 12 months, added just 4,000 jobs in December, slowed by losses in seasonal construction work as well as in the clerical, health care and electronics sectors.

Mining (excluding oil and gas) employment fell 1.7 percent (3,800 jobs) in December, but that may be seasonal as the payroll base was about level with that of December 2012. Employment in motor vehicles and parts manufacturing improved 0.2 percent (1,700 jobs), while employment in transportation equipment rose 0.5 percent (7,400 jobs).

The overall unemployment rate in December was put at 6.7 percent, down from 7 percent in November, with long-term unemployment declining by 894,000 over the past year.

"Nearly one year into President Obama’s second term, his stated goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2017 has become more elusive than ever," Scott Paul, president of the Washington-based Alliance for American Manufacturing, said. "Talk of a manufacturing resurgence is very premature. The last two years were very weak for manufacturing employment, and 2014 won’t be much better unless Congress and the administration get their collective acts together."

"A relatively good manufacturing job creation performance in December and upward revisions for November and October don’t change the sector’s overall humdrum big picture for employment," Alan Tonelson, research fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council, said.

The manufacturing sector has regained less than one-quarter of the nearly 2.29 million jobs it lost during the recession, he said. "No structural domestic manufacturing renaissance is in sight."

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