Lower-paying industries led 2013 US job gains

AP News
Posted: Jan 10, 2014 2:35 PM

Lower-paying industries drove most of the job creation in 2013, a key reason steady hiring has yet to strongly push up wages.

The biggest percentage increase in job growth occurred in the temporary help industry, according to Labor Department data. Those jobs tend to pay less and provide fewer benefits.

Rising numbers of temp jobs used to be seen as a precursor to more hiring. But since the recession employers have increasingly turned to temp workers on a long-term basis. That's because they allow more flexibility and less expense.

Hotels, restaurants, amusement parks and other entertainment firms posted the next biggest percentage gain. The third-largest gain was at retail businesses.

On a brighter note, professional services firms, which include engineers, architects, and information technology specialists, also posted strong gains.

And construction firms hired more, helped by strength from the housing recovery. Developers built more homes and apartments, a trend that economists forecast will continue this year.

The gains last year were broad-based. Only two major industries lost jobs: Government and information, which includes the telecom and publishing industries.

Total government jobs have now fallen for five straight years, but that could turn around in 2014. State and local governments are hiring again, and both added jobs in 2013 for the first time since 2008. Cuts at the federal level accounted for all of government's job losses last year.

Hiring by industry, 2013
(in thousands) Total Jobs in 2012 Total jobs in 2013 Pct. change Total change
Temporary help 2,569 2,817 9.7% 248
Hotels, restaurants, entertainment 13,901 14,291 2.8% 390
Retail 15,004 15,385 2.5% 381
Professional services (accounting, engineering) 15,583 15,972 2.5% 389
Construction 5,711 5,833 2.1% 122
Wholesale trade 5,715 5,810 1.7% 95
Health care 14,454 14,661 1.4% 207
Education 3,345 3,389 1.3% 44
Financial services 7,831 7,915 1.1% 84
Transportation, warehousing 4,494 4,536 0.9% 42
Manufacturing 11,951 12,028 0.6% 77
Government 21,874 21,849 -0.1% -25
Information (telecom, publishing) 2,676 2,672 -0.1% -4