The jobless rate for the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy was below the national jobless rate for each of the last seven months of 2011 from June through December. That reversed a period from October 2008 to May 2011 when the manufacturing jobless rate was equal to or higher than the national average rate for 32 consecutive months. The gap during that period was at its highest in April 2009 when the manufacturing jobless rate was almost 4 points higher at 12.4% than the national average rate of 8.6%. There has never been any comparable 7-month period going back to when the BLS started tracking manufacturing jobless rates that the manufacturing unemployment rate was below the national average for that many consecutive months.
: See Table A-14
of the BLS Employment Report for jobless rates by industry.