Losses in January Reverse Trend of Growth in Blue Collar Sectors
Employment in construction, manufacturing, and mining and logging decreased by 13,000 jobs in January, or -0.06 percent over the previous month. This is a departure from the slow recovery over the previous three months.
Construction jobs increased by 1,000 or 0.01 percent over the previous month. The South was the only region to see overall job growth in the construction sector, with a net increase of 9,000 jobs, or 0.32 percent over the previous month. The Midwest, West, and Northeast lost 3,500 (-0.25 percent), 1,400 (-0.07 percent), and 200 (-0.02 percent) jobs, respectively.
In the South, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma had the largest net increases in construction jobs, with 3,500 (+0.62 percent), 3,000 (+0.41 percent), and 2,400 (+3.10 percent) added. California, South Carolina, Illinois, and Wisconsin saw the largest decreases, with 4,000 (-0.45 percent), 3,200 (-3.03 percent), 3,200 (-1.44 percent), and 3,000 (-2.37 percent) lost, respectively.
Manufacturing jobs decreased by 14,000, or -0.11 percent over the previous month. The Midwest was the only region to see overall job growth in the manufacturing sector, with a net increase of 8,300 jobs, or 0.21 percent over the previous month. The South, West, and Northeast lost 13,100 (-0.32 percent), 5,800 (-0.25 percent) and 3,400 (-0.19 percent) jobs, respectively.
Though the South overall lost the largest number of jobs, Alabama had the largest net increase nationally, with 2,000 added, or 0.77 percent over the previous month. Table 1 shows the largest net increases in manufacturing throughout the Midwest.
|State||Monthly change (in thousands)||Month-to-month change (%)|
Much like with construction, California saw the largest net decrease in manufacturing jobs, with a loss of 4,600, or -0.37 percent over the previous month. This was followed by Kentucky, Louisiana, New York, Texas, and Virginia with net decreases of 3,100 (-1.28 percent), 3,100 (-2.38 percent), 2,900 (-0.72 percent), 2,700 (-0.31 percent), and 2,100 (-0.89 percent), respectively.
Mining and Logging
Mining and logging jobs stayed the same in January. While Texas saw the largest net increase in jobs with 1,900 added, or 1.10 percent over the previous month, a combination of miniscule increases in other states and losses in others led to a draw in the combined sectors. West Virginia had the largest net decrease, with 500 jobs lost, or -2.76 percent over the previous month.
The three-month average (November to January) for the combined sectors was an increase of 1,000 jobs or a 0.17 percent month-to-month change. Over the past 12 months, the average was a loss of 7,667 jobs or a -1.16 percent month-to-month change. While it’s tempting to say the pandemic has hit these sectors hard, the average loss was 4,750 jobs or -0.66 percent month-to-month over the previous 12 months (Jan 2019 to Jan 2021). There has been a slump in the sectors for some time.
Overall, this report is not fantastic. The February numbers are somewhat improved for manufacturing, but not for construction. It will be interesting to see how that plays out at the state level when those numbers come out.