New York - While the official US payroll numbers released on Friday showing an increase of 280,000 jobs in May were welcomed across the board by economists, the natural resources and mining industry suffered its worst month since the global financial crisis. Mining and logging were by far the weakest sector with 18,000 lost jobs in May, the biggest number of layoffs and closed positions since March 2009. The industry suffered its fifth straight month of job losses and May 2015 is tied with April 2009 as the second worst month in a decade.
A total 68,000 workers in the sector have lost their jobs this year. And given estimates that fewer than 845,000 people are employed in the US in this sector the numbers are indeed bad. Average wages are better than many industries - just over $31 an hour for all employees and $26.40 an hour on average for nonsupervisory employees according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But wage growth was a tepid 0.2% compared to an overall rate of a 2.3% increase in hourly earnings in May across industries. Weekly hours are also higher than in many other sectors with 43.7 hours per week on average and rising to 45.7 hours per week for non-supervisory workers.