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Economy in recovery: How selected industries have fared since the Great Recession

| September 2017

How are industries doing since the Great Recession ended 8 years ago? According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Current Employment Statistics program, employment is up in most industries, and earnings increased in all.      

The chart shows the percentage change in employment for selected industries from June 2009, the end of the recession, through August 2017. A bubble’s horizontal placement shows how employment in that industry changed during that period. Its vertical placement shows average weekly earnings for all workers in the industry in August 2017. (Hover over a bubble to see the industry’s percentage change in earnings.) And the size of a bubble indicates the industry’s employment in August 2017.

View Chart Data

Employment change in recovery, June 2009 to August 2017, and employment and earnings, August 2017, in selected industries
Industry Change in employment, June 2009 to August 2017 Employment, August 2017 Average weekly earnings, August 2017 Change in average weekly earnings, June 2009 to August 2017

Mining and logging

5% 719,000 $1,496 28%


15% 6,918,000 $1,129 22%


6% 12,480,000 $1,080 21%

Retail trade

9% 15,829,000 $564 18%

Transportation and warehousing

20% 5,077,000 $930 20%


-3% 2,711,000 $1,392 30%

Financial activities

8% 8,464,000 $1,247 29%

Professional and business services

27% 20,798,000 $1,142 21%

Education and health services

18% 23,173,000 $869 21%

Leisure and hospitality

22% 15,996,000 $402 22%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Statistics program.

Note: Data are seasonally adjusted. August 2017 data are preliminary.


The three largest employing industries in the chart—education and health services, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality—were also among the top job gainers over the last 8 years. Collectively, these industries added 10.8 million workers between June 2009 and August 2017.

But the chart also shows that some smaller industries with slow growth or decline over the recovery period had higher weekly earnings than those of the other industries in August 2017. The two highest earning industries in the chart, mining and logging ($1,462) and information ($1,392), were also the smallest industries by employment. And despite employment loss, the information industry had a 30 percent increase in average weekly earnings over its June 2009 level ($1,069), the biggest gain of all industries shown.  

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About the Author

Kathleen Green is an economist in the Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, BLS. She can be reached at green.kathleen@bls.gov .

Suggested citation:

Kathleen Green, "Economy in recovery: How selected industries have fared since the Great Recession," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 2017.

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