- On October 12, 2021
As children adjust to a new back-to-school environment, parents and other job seekers are adjusting to the changes in the job market. 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.
Overall employment increased by 194,000, decreasing the unemployment rate by 0.4% point to a total 4.8%. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 710,000, down considerably from their peaks at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers declined by 236,000 to 2.3 million and the number of persons on temporary layoff, at 1.1 million, changed little the previous month. The number of people re-entering the labor force decreased by 198,000 after increasing by a similar amount in August.
The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, decreased by 496,000 and account for 34.5% of the total unemployed. The number of people jobless less than 5 weeks changed little when compared to the previous month’s data. The labor force participation rate was little changed, at 61.6%, in September and has remained within a narrow range of 61.4 percent to 61.7 percent since June 2020. The employment-population ratio, at 58.7%, increased slightly.
In September, 13.2% of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus pandemic, little changed when compared to the last set of data. 5.0 million surveyors reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic, down 600,000 reported in August. Among those who reported in September that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 15.5% received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked.
So far this year, monthly job growth has averaged around 561,000. In September, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and transportation and warehousing. Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 74,000 in September, with continued job growth in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+43,000). Employment in food services and drinking places changed little for the second consecutive month, compared with an average monthly gain of 197,000
from January through July. Professional and business services added 60,000 jobs, with employment continuing to increase in architectural and engineering services (+15,000), management and technical consulting services (+15,000), and computer systems design and related services (+9,000). Retail trade rose by 56,000, following 2 months of little change. Over the month, employment gains occurred in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+27,000), general merchandise stores (+16,000), and building material and garden supply stores (+16,000). These gains were partially offset by a loss in food and beverage stores (-12,000).
Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 47,000, in line with gains in the prior 2 months. Job gains continued in warehousing and storage (+16,000) couriers and messengers (+13,000), and air transportation (+10,000). Transportation and warehousing is 72,000 above its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Information industry increased by 32,000, with gains occurring in motion picture and sound recording industries (+14,000); in publishing industries, except Internet (+11,000); and in data processing, hosting, and related services (+6,000). Social assistance increased by 30,000 jobs, led by a gain in child daycare services (+18,000). Manufacturing increased by 26,000 with gains in fabricated metal products (+8,000), machinery (+6,000), and printing and related support activities (+4,000). Gains were partially offset by a decline of 6,000 in motor vehicles and parts. Construction employment increased by 22,000, but has shown little net change so far this year. Wholesale trade increased by 17,000, almost entirely in the durable goods component (+16,000). Mining employment continued to trend upward in September (+5,000), reflecting growth in support activities for mining (+4,000). Mining employment has risen by 59,000 since its pause in August 2020.
In September, employment decreased by 144,000 in local government education and by 17,000 in state government education. Employment changed little in private education (-19,000). Most back-to-school hiring typically occurs in September, which was lower than usual, resulting in a decline after seasonal adjustment. Recent employment changes are challenging to interpret, as pandemic-related staffing fluctuations in public and private education have distorted the normal seasonal hiring and layoff patterns. Employment in health care changed little in September (-18,000). Job losses occurred in nursing and residential care facilities (-38,000) and hospitals (-8,000), while ambulatory health care services added jobs (+28,000). Little change was detected in financial activities and in other services.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 19 cents to $30.85 in September, following large increases in the prior 5 months. In September, the average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 14 cents to $26.15. The data for recent months suggest that the rising demand for the labor associated with the recovery from the pandemic may have put upward pressure on wages. However, because average hourly earnings vary widely across industries, the large employment fluctuations since February 2020 complicate the analysis of recent trends in average hourly earnings. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.2 hour to 34.8 hours. In manufacturing, the average workweek was unchanged at 40.4 hours, and overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up by 38,000, from +1,053,000 to +1,091,000, and the change for August was revised up by 131,000, from +235,000 to +366,000. With these revisions, employment in July and August combined is 169,000 higher than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.
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