October 2020 Jobs Report Shows 638,000 Jobs Added in Coronavirus Recovery

Jobs Report

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The United States economy added 638,000 jobs while the unemployment rate declined by 1.0 percentage point to 6.9 percent in October 2020, improvements reflecting the resumption of economic activity curtailed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The jobs report revealed the number of unemployed people fell by 1.5 million to 11.1 million in October 2020. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, construction, and health care and social assistance. Employment declined in government.

  • Leisure and hospitality employment increased by 271,000 jobs in October 2020. Leisure and hospitality has added 4.8 million jobs since April 2020, but employment in the industry is down by 3.5 million jobs since February 2020.
  • Professional and business services employment added 208,000 jobs in October 2020. Employment in professional and business services is 1.1 million jobs below its February 2020 level.
  • Retail trade employment added 104,000 jobs in October 2020. Employment in retail trade has risen by 1.9 million jobs since April 2020 but is 499,000 jobs below its February 2020 level.
  • Construction employment increased by 84,000 jobs in October 2020. Construction has added 789,000 jobs in the last six months, but employment is down by 294,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Health care and social assistance employment rose by 79,000 jobs in October 2020 but is down by 950,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Transportation and warehousing employment rose by 63,000 jobs in October 2020. Employment in transportation and warehousing is 271,000 jobs below its February 2020 level.
  • Other services industry employment added 47,000 jobs in October 2020. Employment in other services is 436,000 jobs below its February 2020 level.
  • Manufacturing employment rose by 38,000 jobs in October 2020 but is 621,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Financial activities employment added 31,000 jobs in October 2020 but is 129,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesale trade, and information, changed little in October 2020.
  • Government employment declined by 268,000 jobs in October 2020.

The jobs report showed the change in employment for August 2020 was revised from 1,489,000 jobs added to 1,493,000 jobs added while September 2020 was revised from 661,000 jobs added to 672,000 jobs added. With these revisions, gains in August and September were 15,000 jobs more than previously reported.

Since March 2020, jobs report survey interviewers were instructed to classify employed persons absent from work due to temporary coronavirus-related business closures or cutbacks as unemployed. BLS and Census Bureau analyses of data suggest this group still may include workers who should have been classified as unemployed.

“For March through September, BLS published an estimate of what the unemployment rate would have been had misclassified workers been included. Repeating this same approach, the overall October unemployment rate would have been about 0.3 percentage point higher than reported,” the jobs report explained.

The jobs report is usually released on the first Friday of every month at www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm. The jobs report for November 2020 will be released on Friday, December 4, 2020. More information about the October 2020 jobs report is at www.bls.gov/covid19/employment-situation-covid19-faq-october-2020.htm.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of November 6, 2020, there are more than 48.8 million global cases and 1.2 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with more than 9.6 million cases and 234,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

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