US chems, plastics shed jobs as overall Oct employment improves

05 November 2010 16:07  [Source: ICIS news]

Chemical jobs fall while overall employment risesHOUSTON (ICIS)--The US chemicals and plastics sectors shed jobs in October, the US Labor Department said on Friday, even as total non-farm employment moved higher and unemployment held steady.

Employment in chemical manufacturing dropped to a seasonally-adjusted 776,000 positions in October, down 0.3% from 778,000 in September.

Meanwhile, jobs in the plastics and rubber products sector fell to a seasonally-adjusted 632,100, off 0.3% from 634,000 in September.

The chemicals and plastics declines went against the broader trend. Overall, US non-farm employment rose by 151,000 jobs in October while the unemployment rate held at 9.6%.

As such, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said the report was welcome news, even considering the month-over-month drops for the industry.

“The report, coupled with the other reports lately, suggests the momentum of the [economic] recovery may be improving,” the group said.

Employment in temporary help services, health care and retail trade - specifically, for automobile dealers and in electronics and appliance stores - showed the strongest month-over-month growth, according to the Labor Department.

The overall increase of 151,000 jobs exceeded analyst expectations, but US President Barack Obama said the unemployment rate remained “unacceptably high”.

US recession unemployment peaked at 10.1% in October 2009 and has been “essentially unchanged” since May, the Labor Department said.

In downstream chemical sectors, manufacturing shed 7,000 jobs month over month while construction added 5,000 positions.

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By: Ben DuBose
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