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Jobs gained and lost since January 2008. (NPR)

Jobs In America, In 2 Graphs

by Lam Thuy Vo
Sep 7, 2012

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Update, 8:52 a.m.: The number of non-farm jobs in the U.S. increased by 96,000 in August, according to the jobs report.

Three years into the recovery, the U.S. jobs picture is still bleak. There are 4.7 million fewer jobs today than there were in January 2008, the month when employment peaked.

But, as the graph below shows, the story becomes more nuanced when you look across different sectors of the economy.

The construction and manufacturing sectors were hit particularly hard during the recession, and still haven't come back. Construction is still down 2 million jobs, and manufacturing is down 1.8 million.

Other sectors, such as professional services, have gained back the jobs lost during the recession.

And the health care industry grew steadily through the recession and the recovery. Since January 2008, it's gained 1.2 million jobs.

It's also worth looking at how the number of jobs in different sectors has changed in relative terms.

The construction industry shrank by over a quarter since the beginning of 2008. While private education, which includes private colleges and universities, grew by 12 percent, and the federal government grew by 11 percent.

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