Manufacturing serves as bright spot in labor report, adds 49,000 jobs in JanuaryThe U.S. Department of Labor released employment figures for the month of January this Friday. Although the economy added fewer jobs than many economists had forecast, the manufacturing sector was one of the few bright spots in the report, adding thousands of workers during the first month of the year.

The U.S. economy added only 36,000 net jobs in January, which pales in comparison to the upwardly revised December figures, when 121,000 people gained employment. However, manufacturing in the U.S. expanded for the 18th consecutive month in January and manufacturers added 49,000 workers to their payrolls to keep up with the rising demand for their goods.

Moreover, the unemployment rate fell to 9.0% from 9.4%, but economists contend the drop indicates a contraction in the size of the labor force, rather than a reduction in the number of people who were looking for jobs and found them.

Of the manufacturing jobs added in January, nearly 20,000 of them were in the automobile industry, which is recovering at a fast clip after suffering big losses during the financial crisis; car makers like GM, Ford and Toyota all reported higher sales figures for January, and many car companies have increased their manufacturing capacity to keep up with burgeoning global demand.  
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