Job Growth by Industry

This morning the BLS released its estimate of net new job creation in Janaury. Including upward revisions in the new job estimates for the previous few months, it was a pretty good report:

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 193,000 in January, and the unemployment rate fell to 4.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Job gains occurred in several industries, including construction, mining, food services and drinking places, health care, and financial activities.

Interestingly, construction employment still seems to be growing robustly, despite some concerns that the real estate market is cooling off; 46,000 of the new jobs created last month were in construction.

Taking a look at the industry shares of employment gains over the past year illustrates that construction has regularly accounted for nearly one out of five new jobs in the US economy.

In percentage terms the growth rate of jobs in the construction sector was higher than for [almost] any other industry in 2005, as the following table shows (job growth in thousands, wage in $/hour).

Unsurprisingly, all of this confirms what we already knew: the US economy is steadily shifting away from producing tradeable goods, toward producing non-tradeable goods. And that underlies most of the concern many people have about how painful an adjustment in the US’s current account deficit might someday be.


UPDATE: Errors on chart and table fixed.