The Job Market in 2000: Slowing Down as the Year Ended

By Martel, Jennifer L.; Langdon, David S. | Monthly Labor Review, February 2001 | Go to article overview

The Job Market in 2000: Slowing Down as the Year Ended


Martel, Jennifer L., Langdon, David S., Monthly Labor Review


As the unemployment rate edged down to a 31-year low, the job market entered an unprecedented 10th year of expansion, though job growth slowed a bit in the second half of the year

The Nation's current economic expansion entered its 10th year in 2000, becoming the longest expansionary period on record. However, by the end of the year, signs emerged that the rate of expansion was slowing.

In the first half of the year, the Federal Reserve continued to raise interest rates as part of a policy designed to slow the economy and keep inflation in check.(1) The Federal Reserve aimed to bring the economy in for a "soft landing." Real gross domestic product (GDP) was relatively strong during the first half of the year, growing at an annual rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter and 5.6 percent in the second quarter. By the third quarter, however, the rate of growth slowed to 2.2 percent.(2) The deceleration in real GDP primarily reflected downturns in inventory investment and in Federal Government spending, and a deceleration in nonresidential fixed investment.(3)

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to grow in 2000, at an average over-the-year rate of 2.3 percent in first half of the year, 2.0 percent in the third quarter, and 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter. Most of the job growth in 2000 occurred in the service-producing industries. Mining employment also increased, in response to rising oil prices. Employment in construction slowed over the year, affected by the rise in interest rates. Manufacturing employment fell overall, although some industries related to information technology saw their payrolls increase. (See table 1.)

Table 1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by Industry, seasonally
adjusted quarterly averages, 1994-2000

[Numbers in thousands]

                                       Fourth     Fourth     Fourth
Industry                               quarter    quarter    quarter
                                        1994       1999       2000

Total nonfarm                          115,598    129,783    131,863
Total private                           96,379    109,507    111,415
  Goods-producing                       24,163     25,524     25,624

    Mining                                 596        529        540
      Metal mining                          49         45         44
      Oil and gas extraction               332        289        310
    Nonmetallic minerals,
      except fuels                         105        112        108

    Construction                         5,089      6,513      6,736
      General building contractors       1,210      1,469      1,522
      Heavy construction,
          except building                  746        877        882
      Special trade contractors          3,132      4,167      4,332

    Manufacturing                       18,478     18,482     18,347
      Durable goods                     10,583     11,085     11,047
        Lumber and wood products           768        831        808
        Furniture and fixtures             513        553        553
        Stone, clay, and glass
          products                         537        564        562
        Primary metal industries           709        698        687
        Fabricated metal products        1,415      1,520      1,532
        Industrial machinery
            and equipment                2,015      2,131      2,126
          Computer and office
            equipment                      350        370        362
        Electronic and other
            electrical equipment         1,594      1,672      1,724
          Electronic components
            and accessories                556        639        693
        Transportation equipment         1,789      1,870      1,811
          Motor vehicles
            and equipment                  947      1,022        988
          Aircraft and parts               469        474        456
        Instruments and related
          products                         850        649        850
        Miscellaneous manufacturing
          industries                       393        398        394

    Nondurable goods                     7,895      7,397      7,300
      Food and kindred products          1,679      1,674      1,669
      Tobacco products                      42         38         37
      Textile mill products                681        550        530
      Apparel and other textile
        products                           976        672        628
      Paper and allied products            695        665        657
      Printing and publishing            1,543      1,549      1,558
      Chemicals and allied products      1,046      1,031      1,024
      Petroleum and coal products          150        132        129
      Rubber and miscellaneous
        plastics products                  973      1,009        996
      Leather and leather products         111         76         72

Service-producing                       91,435    104,259    106,240
  Transportation and public
    utilities                            6,059      6,895      7,063
      Transportation                     3,829      4,451      4,565
        Railroad transportation            241        226        220
        Local and interurban
          passenger transit                409        490        499
        Trucking and warehousing         1,558      1,820      1,845
        Water transportation               173        191        205
        Transportation by air            1,043      1,247      1,308
    Pipelines, except natural gas           16         13         12
    Transportation services                388        465        476
  Communications and public
    utilities                            2,230      2,444      2,498
      Communications                     1,306      1,580      1,645
      Electric, gas, and sanitary
        services                           924        863        853

Wholesale trade                          6,261      6,988      7,091
  Durable goods                          3,625      4,164      4,207
  Nondurable goods                       2,636      2,824      2,884

Retail trade                            20,827     22,897     23,220
  Building materials and garden
    supplies                               855      1,008      1,020
  General merchandise stores             2,650      2,757      2,752
  Department stores                      2,314      2,410      2,405
  Food stores                            3,310      3,498      3,521
  Automotive dealers and service
    stations                             2,151      2,381      2,430
  New and used car dealers                 981      1,092      1,121
  Apparel and accessory stores           1,147      1,186      1,208
  Furniture and home
    furnishings stores                     921      1,094      1,129
  Eating and drinking places             7,173      7,967      8,096
  Miscellaneous retail
    establishments                       2,620      3,006      3,065

Finance, insurance,
    and real estate                      6,851      7,605      7,649
  Finance                                3,265      3,707      3,742
    Depository institutions              2,051      2,061      2,035
      Commercial banks                   1,479      1,473      1,446
      Savings institutions                 292        249        237
    Nondepository institutions             468        705        690
    Security and commodity
      brokers                              522        708        768
    Holding and other
      investment offices                   224        233        249

Insurance                                2,230      2,377      2,360
  Insurance carriers                     1,542      1,610      1,585
  Insurance agents, brokers,
    and service                            687        767        775
  Real estate                            1,357      1,521      1,547

Services(1)                             32,218     39,598     40,768
  Agricultural services                    576        779        808
  Hotels and other lodging
    places                               1,639      1,866      1,934
  Personal services                      1,146      1,252      1,287
  Business services(1)                   6,532      9,502      9,815
    Services to buildings                  872        997      1,005
    Personnel supply services            2,397      3,731      3,830
      Help supply services               2,129      3,343      3,407
      Computer and data
        processing services              1,000      1,881      1,979
  Auto repair, services,
    and parking                            989      1,191      1,209
  Miscellaneous repair
    services                               346        380        385

  Motion pictures                          456        624        633
  Amusement and recreation
    services                             1,354      1,698      1,794

Health services(1)                       9,079     10,040     10,209
  Offices and clinics of medical
    doctors                              1,567      1,898      1,953
  Nursing and personal care
    facilities                           1,664      1,786      1,794
  Hospitals                              3,760      3,994      4,044
  Home health care services                588        637        644

Legal services                             924      1,005      1,015
Private schools and other
  educational services                   1,906      2,304      2,372
Social services(1)                       2,265      2,866      3,035
  Child day care services                  541        719        788
  Residential care                         621        795        840
Museums and botanical
  and zoological gardens                    79         99        104
Membership organizations                 2,112      2,434      2,450
Engineering and management
    services(1)                          2,633      3,312      3,474
  Engineering and architectural
    services                               794        969      1,019
  Management and public
    relations                              743      1,060      1,134

Government                              19,219     20,276     20,448
  Federal                                2,854      2,646      2,615
    Federal, except Postal
    Service                              2,024      1,780      1,761

  State government                       4,624      4,724      4,759
    State government,
      except education                   2,717      2,743      2,771
    State government education           1,907      1,981      1,989
  Local government                      11,741     12,905     13,073
    Local government, except
      education                          5,220      5,581      5,686
    Local government education           6,521      7,325      7,387

                                          Change, fourth quarter
                                             to fourth quarter

                                                             Average,
Industry                                 1998 to 1999      1995 to 1999
                                      Thousands   Percent    Thousands

Total nonfarm                            2,816      2. … 

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