The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.9%. This also continues a worsening trend begun in October 2006, when unemployment was at a low of 4.4%.
Manufacturing jobs continued the decline begun October 2006. The economy now has 2.7% fewer manufacturing jobs than the year before. Manufacturing jobs are a good leading indicator of overall economic performance, since they produce big-ticket items that consumers will put off buying when the economy starts to weaken. As the orders decline, manufacturers will hire less workers, and even lay off existing workers to keep costs low. (Source: BLS, Employment Situation Summary)
What This Means for YouThe worsening employment situation is being aggravated by the Subprime Mortgage Crisis. Manufacturing employment decline is a result of the a long-term trend away from a goods-producing to a service economy. Many experts argue that this is causing the U.S. economy to lose its competitive edge. For a summary of recent employment trends, check out Employment Current Statistics.
- A Primer on the Role of Supply in the U.S. Economy
- The Impact of an Aging Labor Force on the U.S. Economy
- How the U.S. Is Losing Its Competitive Edge