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Department of Commerce Explains Which Jobs Grew in 2011

January 30, 2012

The Economics and Statistics Administration within the Department of Commerce released this graph which shows private-sector job growth for 2011 based on last weeks release of December’s job data. Most notably, the private sector added more than 1.9 million jobs during 2011, in many #STEM related fields including manufacturing, education and health services.

Further explanation from Mark Doms, Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Commerce:

Leading the way with 452,000 net new jobs was the professional and business services industry sector, with hiring in the good-paying “professional and technical services” industries accounting for more than half of these gains. Firms in these industries provide services ranging from management consulting to computer systems design, accounting, engineering, and architecture, and on average, workers earn about $35 an hour. During 2011, professional and technical services added 246,000 net new jobs, up from 40,000 in 2010.

Mining and logging posted the fastest growth across major industries by far, with employment up 12 percent over the year. “Support activities for mining” and oil and gas extraction fueled this growth. Employment trends in these industries generally track closely with petroleum prices.

U.S. factories brought back 225,000 jobs last year, with the most pronounced gains in transportation equipment (79,000, including 50,000 in motor vehicles), fabricated metal products (64,000), machinery (60,000), primary metals (26,000). This represents the strongest job gains for this sector since 1997. At the same time, the average workweek for factory production workers, an official leading economic indicator, ratcheted up 0.2 hours to 41.5 hours—matching its highest level not just since the end of the recession but since mid 2000.

Two areas where job losses have persisted are government and the information industries. Public sector employment shrank by 280,000 jobs, or about 1.3 percent, led by the loss of 113,000 in local schools, 68,000 jobs in local government administration, 78,000 in state government administration, and 31,000 in the postal service. (Employment at state colleges and universities was essentially flat.) Job losses in wired and wireless telecommunication firms accounted for most of the employment decline in information.

Nevertheless and notwithstanding the employment growth of 2011, with more than 13 million people actively looking for work and several million more on the sidelines, we must not only maintain the growth of 2011 but build upon it in 2012.

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