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The number of people employed by the waste management and remediation services industry in the U.S. has reached a record high, according to new statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS statistics showed that in July this year the waste industry employed some 382,500 workers – an increase of 1200 employees or 0.3% from June’s numbers.

Industry trade group, the National Waste & Recycling Association attributed growth to American consumer demand and an evolving waste stream.

The organisation explained that waste industry employment trends have mirrored national trends in the U.S. this year. Nationally, 209,000 jobs were added last month—the second consecutive month with an increase of 200,000 or more.

However, according to the association, while the U.S. unemployment rate now hovers just above 6% the waste industry’s unemployment rate was 3.2% in July – near a seven-year low.

“The BLS data reflect a general improvement in current economic conditions as well as seasonal factors impacting the industry,” commented Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Waste & Recycling Association.

“Technological advances in materials, materials handling and consumer behaviour patterns continue to influence waste-handling methods, creating efficiencies and innovation within the industry,” she added.

The waste management and remediation services category (NAICS 562) includes:  solid waste collection; hazardous waste collection; other waste collection; hazardous waste treatment and disposal; solid waste landfill; solid waste combustors and incinerators; other nonhazardous waste treatment and disposal; remediation services; materials recovery facilities; and all other waste management services.

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