October 2021 Monthly Employment Report

  • On November 10, 2021

Fall brings cooler weather and new opportunities, especially for job seekers. Staff Solve strives to assist employers and job seekers with information and process hiring, but the overall economic picture of employment trends in the United States and possible factors involved.

Total employment increased by 531,000 for the month of October, resulting in the unemployment rate decreased by 0.2% to an overall 4.6%. However, overall unemployment remains above pre-pandemic data levels (3.5%), but there are contributing factors beyond the pandemic that are influencing the data. Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers, at 2.1 million, changed little in October. The number of persons on temporary layoff, at 1.1 million, was little changed over the month as well. In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) decreased by 357,000 and accounted for 31.6% of the total unemployed in October. 

The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 61.6% and has remained within a narrow range of 61.4% to 61.7% since June 2020. The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons experienced little change in October. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time opportunities. For October, 11.6% of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic, down from 13.2% in the prior month. 

So far this year, monthly job growth has averaged 582,000. Job growth was vast in October, with notable gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing. Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 164,000, 119,000 in food services and drinking places and by 23,000 in accommodation. Professional and business services added 100,000 jobs in October, including a gain of 41,000 in temporary help services. Employment continued to rise in management and technical consulting services (+14,000), other professional and technical services (+9,000), scientific research and development services (+6,000), and legal services (+5,000). 

Jobs in manufacturing increased by 60,000 for the month, led by a gain in motor vehicles and parts (+28,000). Opportunities of employment also rose in fabricated metal products (+6,000), chemicals (+6,000), and printing and related support activities (+4,000). Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 54,000, while job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+20,000), transit and ground passenger transportation (+16,000), air transportation (+9,000), and truck transportation (+8,000). Employment in couriers and messengers decreased by 5,000 in October, after increasing in the prior 3 months. 

Construction employment rose by 44,000, following an increase of 30,000 in September. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+19,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+12,000) were notable gains for the industry. Health care added 37,000 jobs in October, with most of the gain occurring in home health-care services (+16,000) and nursing care facilities (+12,000). Retail trade rose by 35,000, specifically in food and beverage stores (+16,000), general merchandise stores (+15,000), health and personal care stores (+8,000), and electronics and appliance stores (+6,000). These gains were partially offset by a job loss in building material and garden supply stores (-10,000). 

Employment in the other services industry increased by 33,000, as personal and laundry services added 28,000 jobs. Employment in financial activities rose by 21,000 in October and has returned to its February 2020 level. Over the month, job growth occurred in real estate, as well as rental and leasing (+12,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+11,000). Wholesale trade increased by 14,000, reflecting a gain in durable goods, and mining followed suit by continuing to trend up in October (+5,000).

In October, employment decreased in local government education and state government education (-43,000 and -22,000, respectively). Employment changed little in private education (+17,000). Recent employment changes in public and private education are challenging to interpret, as pandemic-related staffing fluctuations have distorted the normal seasonal hiring and layoff patterns. Employment in information changed little in October (+10,000).

For the month, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 11 cents to $30.96, following large increases in the prior 6 months. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.9%. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 10 cents to $26.26. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hours to 34.7 hours. In manufacturing, the average workweek edged down by 0.1 hours to 40.3 hours, and overtime edged down by 0.1 hours to 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hours to 34.1 hours. 

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised up by 117,000, from +366,000 to +483,000, and the change for September was revised up by 118,000, from +194,000 to +312,000. With these revisions, employment in August and September combined is 235,000 higher than previously reported. These monthly revisions occurred due to additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.

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