March 31, 1999
Total nonfarm employment in the United States grew by 2.3 percent, or nearly 2.9 million, from 1997 to 1998. Of the 9 major divisions into which industries are classified, two reported over-the-year employment declines. Manufacturing employment fell 0.9 percent or 169,000, while mining employment dropped 5.4 percent or 32,000.
In manufacturing, the decline of 169,000 jobs followed five years of average annual gains of about that magnitude. The deterioration was most severe in electronic and other electrical equipment (down 2.1 percent in 1998, following average gains of 2.3 percent from 1993-97), industrial machinery and equipment (down 1.3 percent, following 2.6 percent average gains from 1993-97), and fabricated metal products (down 0.4 percent, following 2.3 percent average gains from 1993-97).
In mining, the employment loss of over 30,000 in 1998 followed increases in 1996 and 1997. Nearly all of the decline was in oil and gas extraction, which lost 24,000 jobs. Since peaking in 1981, mining has lost about 600,000 jobs; the two employment increases in 1996 and 1997 were exceptional.
These employment data by industry are produced by the BLS Current Employment Statistics program. More information may be obtained from "Job growth slows during crises overseas", Monthly Labor Review, February 1999. The employment changes in this article are based on the change in seasonally adjusted employment data from the fourth quarter of 1997 to the fourth quarter of 1998.