The furniture industry is not a major employer in the the US. Employment in the American furniture industry stood at 573,500 as of 2003. This is only 0.4% of the overall employment in the US. It seems that the furniture industry lends itself less to labor-saving technologies than other industries. Between 1983 and 2003, furniture employment grew by 7.7% while total manufacturing employment fell by 9.0%. Hourly wage rate in the furniture and fixture industry averaged $12.98 compared to $15.75 for manufacturing as a whole in 2003. The average furniture employee's earnings were just 82.5% of those of the average manufacturing employee. During the past 20 years, this gap has gradually narrowed. The reason for this difference must be found in the fact that the output per worker (labor productivity) int he furniture sector falls short of that among all manufacturers by almost 50%.