January 2021 Jobs Report Shows 49,000 Jobs Added in COVID-19 Recovery

Jobs Report

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Total nonfarm employment in the United States increased by 49,000 jobs while the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in January 2021, reflecting the impact of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it, according to the jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS jobs report for January 2021 revealed the number of unemployed people decreased to 10.1 million. Notable job gains in professional and business services and in both public and private education were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.

  • Professional and business services employment rose by 97,000 jobs in January 2021 but is down 825,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Local government education added 49,000 jobs, state government education added 36,000 jobs, and private education added 34,000 jobs in January 2021.
  • Wholesale trade employment gained 14,000 jobs in January 2021 but is 263,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Mining employment increased by 9,000 jobs in January 2021 but is down by 133,000 jobs since a recent peak in January 2019.
  • Leisure and hospitality employment declined by 61,000 jobs in January 2021 and is down by 3.9 million jobs since February 2020.
  • Retail trade employment lost 38,000 jobs in January 2021 and is 383,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Health care employment declined by 30,000 jobs in January 2021 and is down by 542,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Transportation and warehousing employment declined by 28,000 jobs in January 2021 and is 105,000 jobs below its February 2020 level.
  • Manufacturing employment lost 10,000 jobs in January 2021 and is 582,000 jobs lower than in February 2020.
  • Construction employment decreased by 3,000 jobs in January 2021 and is down by 256,000 jobs since February 2020.
  • Employment changed little in other major industries such as information, financial activities, and other services.

The jobs report showed the change in employment for November 2020 was revised from 336,000 jobs added to 264,000 jobs added, while December 2020 was revised from 140,000 jobs lost to 227,000 jobs lost. With these revisions, gains in November 2020 and December 2020 were 159,000 jobs lower than previously reported.

Since March 2020, household survey interviewers have been instructed to classify employed persons absent from work due to pandemic-related business closures or cutbacks as unemployed on temporary layoff. However, some workers who should have been classified as unemployed were misclassified as employed but not at work.

For March 2020 through December 2020, BLS published an estimate of what the unemployment rate might have been had misclassified workers been included among the unemployed. Repeating this same approach, the seasonally adjusted January unemployment rate would have been 0.6 percentage point higher than reported.

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 February 2021 will be released on Friday, March 5, 2021. More information about the January 2021 jobs report is at www.bls.gov/covid19/employment-situation-covid19-faq-january-2021.htm.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a deadly respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of February 5, 2021, there are more than 104 million global cases and 2.2 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with more than 26.6 million cases and 455,000 deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.

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