[Excerpt] The manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy has experienced substantial job losses since 2000. During the recession of 2001 and its immediate aftermath, employment in the manufacturing sector fell by about 2.9 million jobs, or 17 percent. Even after overall employment began to improve in 2004, the decline in manufacturing employment persisted. By the end of 2007, with the slowing of economic growth, employment in the sector had edged down further, by half a million jobs. And, as of November 2008, employment in manufacturing had fallen yet again, by slightly more than 600,000 jobs. A significant number of additional losses is likely given the current weakness in the economy.