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Metals employment shrinks in January

Keywords: Tags  employment report, metals industry, Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing, Alan Tonelson, U.S. Business and Industry Council, manufacturing, automotive mining

CHICAGO — Primary metal producers and metal fabricators saw employment levels fall last month compared with December, shedding a combined 10,600 jobs, according to nonseasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, combined employment rose by 19,900 jobs year on year as jobs added by fabricators more than offset producers’ declines.

The mining industry outside of oil and gas extraction lost 3,200 workers month on month and 1,900 compared with January 2013.

Motor vehicle and parts manufacturers added 200 workers to payrolls during January and 46,600 jobs over the past 12 months.

The U.S. manufacturing industry as a whole shed 83,000 employees in January vs. December, nearly reversing a year-on-year gain of 85,000 jobs.

"We believe better public policies would bring about a real resurgence (in manufacturing employment)," according to Scott Paul, president of the Washington-based Alliance for American Manufacturing, which represents the metals industry and labor. "That would mean balancing our trade in goods, investing in infrastructure and training, combating currency manipulation overseas and boosting innovation."

The overall unemployment rate dipped to 6.6 percent in January from 6.7 percent in December.

"U.S. hiring disappointed severely once again," Alan Tonelson, research fellow for the Washington-based U.S. Business and Industry Council Educational Foundation, said in an e-mailed statement. "Manufacturing ... remains a major jobs laggard during the present recovery. The sector has regained only 27.1 percent (622,000) of the 2.293 million jobs it lost from the onset of the recession in December 2007."

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