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February 1994, Vol. 117, No. 2
Jennifer Gardner, Steven Hipple, and Thomas Nardone
T he labor market recovery picked up some momentum in 1993. There was a large gain in employment, and some industries recorded their first sustained increase in jobs in several years. In addition, unemployment remained on the downward trend that began in mid-1992. However, structural changes in the economy and the lingering effects of the 1990-91 recession continued to adversely affect segments of the American work force. Several industries lost more jobs, and in certain respects, underemployment of the economy's labor resources persisted.
Nonfarm payroll employment, as measured by the BLS survey of employers, rose by 1.9 million in 1993.1 Most of the jobs added over the year were in the services and retail trade industries. Employment in construction experienced its first over-the-year increase since 1989, although it remained substantially below its prerecession peak. And the string of manufacturing job losses that began in 1989 continued throughout most of the year; between early 1989 and the fall of 1993, factory employment dropped by 1.8 million.
Total employment, as measured by the household survey, grew by about 2.4 million over the year, and the proportion of the population with jobs-the employment-to-population ratio-rose from 61.3 to 61.9 percent. However, this ratio was still well below the levels reached before the 1990-91 recession. The number of unemployed persons, at 8.4 million in the fourth quarter, had declined by nearly 900,000 in 1993, bringing the unemployment rate down to 6.5 percent. (See the box on the following page for information on revisions to the Current Population Survey.)
This excerpt is from an article published in the February 1994 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 This report summarizes developments in the U.S. labor market in 1993, using data from the Bureau's Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey of 370,000 nonfarm business establishments and from the Current Population Survey (the CPS, collected for BLS by the Census Bureau) of 60,000 households. Employment and unemployment data used in this article are quarterly averages, unless otherwise noted. Estimates of over-the-year change are based on a comparison of fourth-quarter averages. Fourth-quarter data from the CES are preliminary.
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