Related BLS programs | Related articles
February 2000, Vol. 123, No. 2
The job market remains strong in 1999Jennifer L. Martel and Laura A. Kelter
The U.S. economy entered its 9th year of expansion in 1999. By the end of the year, 106 months of uninterrupted recovery from the 1990–91 recession had passed, equaling the lengthy expansion of the 1960s—the longest on record. Gross domestic product increased 4.3 percent in 1999, with the strength due, in large part, to exceptionally robust consumer spending. (See table 1.) Most indicators of labor market performance evidenced continued strength in 1999. Over the year, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 2.7 million, to 129.6 million in the fourth quarter, and the unemployment rate declined to 4.1 percent by year’s end, a 30-year low.
With employment continuing to grow and unemployment continuing to inch down, concerns about the economy overheating and resultant inflationary pressures prompted the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates several times in the second half of the year. As the year progressed, wage growth remained tepid, and by the end of the year, consumer prices were up by only 2.6 percent from a year earlier.
The service-producing industries provided the overwhelming majority of employment growth in 1999. Job growth in construction also was healthy, buoyed by low interest rates and strong consumer confidence, although the rise in mortgage interest rates in the second half of the year dampened employment in homebuilding a bit. Manufacturing continued to lose jobs in 1999, as export growth remained sluggish in the wake of recent economic turmoil in several Asian economies. However, the rate of job loss in manufacturing was slower than in the previous year.
This excerpt is from an article published in the February 2000 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.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (131K)
1 The Kentucky legislature did not meet in 1999. The District of Columbia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Puerto Rico did not enact significant legislation in the fields covered by this article. Information about Guam and the Virgin Islands was not received in time to be included in the article, which is based on information received by November 10, 1999.
Related BLS programs
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
National Current Employment Statistics
Related Monthly Labor Review articles
Job growth slows during crises overseas.—Feb. 1999.
Strong job growth continues, unemployment declines in 1997.—Feb. 1998.
Employment in 1996: jobs up, unemployment down.—Feb. 1997.
Slower economic growth affects the 1995 labor market.—Mar. 1996.
Strong employment gains continue in 1994.—Feb. 1995.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers