In March there were good gains in both construction and manufacturing. The total number of seasonally adjusted (SA), non-farm people employed in the U.S. in March was 148.230 million (M), a relatively flat increase of 0.07% month on month, (m/m). Over the past 12 months the U.S. economy has added 2.261M jobs, or +1.6% for an average of 150,000 per month.

Of the 313,000 jobs created in February, 287,000 were in the Private sector and 26,000 originated in Government. The big volume gainers in the Private sector were Retail Trade, (+50,000), Financial Activities, (+ 28,000), Education and Health services, (+23,000) and Leisure and Hospitality (+16,000). Within Government, 31,000 jobs were initiated at the local level, reduction of 7,000 at the Federal level, while State governments added 2,000 jobs.

The SA service providing sector employed 127.726M people in March, up 358,000 jobs, 0.07% m/m and higher by 1.739M or 1.4% y/y. Service providing employment in March accounting for 86.2% of the non-farm workforce.

The SA goods producing sector employed 20.504M people in March, up 150,000, (+0.07%), m/m and up by 554,000 or 2.8% y/y. On a percentage basis, the goods producing sector is creating twice as many jobs as the service providing segment, a significant change.

employ-ind-fig1Figure 1 shows manufacturing and construction employment on the same chart from 2005 to present. Both manufacturing and construction employment are showing growth, construction is growing at a faster rate on a percentage basis.

The SA manufacturing sector employed 12.632M in March, up 22,000 or 0.17%, m/m and higher by 232,000 (1.9%), y/y. The two largest employment categories within manufacturing are motor vehicles and parts and transportation equipment. There were 964,800 employed in the manufacture of motor vehicles and parts, +3,000 change m/m. On a y/y basis, jobs in this sector were higher by 21,600 or +2.4%. The transportation equipment field employed 1.652M. Jobs in this sector were up by 4,800, and were stronger by 34,100, +2.1% y/y.

The construction sector employed a total of 7.150M, up 15,000 m/m and up by 228,000, (3.3%), y/y. Most construction workers are employed constructing buildings. In March there were 1.586M workers constructing buildings, up 4,600 m/m and 55,400 y/y. Heavy civil engineering was the next largest construction segment employing 1,005,700 in March, down 3,600 m/m and higher by 14,300 y/y.

At Gerdau, we keep a keen eye on the employment numbers, especially manufacturing and construction since this is where most long product steel ends-up. In addition we know that growth in net job creation correlates to increased steel consumption.