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Economic News Release
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Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this news release is embargoed until		USDL-21-0158
8:30 a.m. (ET) Friday, February 5, 2021

Technical information: 
 Household data:  *
 Establishment data:  *

Media contact:		(202) 691-5902   *


The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in January, while 
nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+49,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. The labor market continued to reflect the impact of the coronavirus 
(COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In January, 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.

|											|
|			Changes to The Employment Situation Data			|
|											|
| Establishment survey data have been revised as a result of the annual benchmarking 	|
| process and the updating of seasonal adjustment factors. Also, household survey data  |
| for January 2021 reflect updated population estimates. See the notes at the end of 	|
| this news release for more information about these changes.				|

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey 
measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics. The
establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry. For
more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these two 
surveys, see the Technical Note.

Household Survey Data

In January, the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent, and the 
number of unemployed persons decreased to 10.1 million. Although both measures are much
lower than their April 2020 highs, they remain well above their pre-pandemic levels in 
February 2020 (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively). (See table A-1. See the note
at the end of the news release and tables B and C for information about annual 
population adjustments to the household survey estimates. See the box note at the end 
of this news release for more information about how the household survey and its 
measures were affected by the coronavirus pandemic.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates declined over the month for adult
men (6.0 percent), adult women (6.0 percent), Whites (5.7 percent), and Hispanics (8.6
percent). The jobless rates changed little for teenagers (14.8 percent), Blacks (9.2 
percent), and Asians (6.6 percent). (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff decreased in January 
to 2.7 million. This measure is down considerably from the recent high of 18.0 million
in April but is 2.0 million higher than its February level. The number of permanent 
job losers, at 3.5 million, changed little in January but is 2.2 million higher than 
in February. The number of reentrants to the labor force decreased in January to 2.0 
million. (Reentrants are persons who previously worked but were not in the labor force
prior to beginning their job search.) (See table A-11.)

In January, the number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks decreased to 2.3 million.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 4.0 
million, was about unchanged in January and accounted for 39.5 percent of the total 
unemployed. (See table A-12.)

After accounting for the annual adjustments to the population controls, both the 
civilian labor force and the number of employed persons changed little in January. At
61.4 percent, the labor force participation rate was about unchanged over the month 
but is 1.9 percentage points lower than its February level. The employment-population
ratio, at 57.5 percent in January, changed little over the month but is 3.6 percentage
points lower than in February. (See table A-1. For additional information about the
effects of the population adjustments, see table C.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 6.0 million, 
changed little in January. This measure is 1.6 million higher than the February level.
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 jobs.
(See table A-8.)

The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job, at 7.0 million,
edged down in January but is 1.9 million higher than in February. These individuals 
were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during
the last 4 weeks or were unavailable to take a job. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons marginally attached to the labor force, at 1.9 million,
decreased in January. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had 
looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4
weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the 
marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was little 
changed over the month at 624,000. (See Summary table A.)

Household Survey Supplemental Data

In January, the share of employed persons who teleworked because of the coronavirus 
pandemic edged down to 23.2 percent. These data refer to employed persons who 
teleworked or worked at home for pay at some point in the last 4 weeks specifically 
because of the pandemic.

In January, 14.8 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because 
their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic--that is, they did not 
work at all or worked fewer hours at some point in the last 4 weeks due to the 
pandemic. This measure is 1.1 million lower than in December. Among those who 
reported in January that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related 
closures or lost business, 12.7 percent received at least some pay from their 
employer for the hours not worked, little changed from the previous month.

Among those not in the labor force in January, 4.7 million persons were prevented 
from looking for work due to the pandemic; this measure is little changed from 
December. (To be counted as unemployed, by definition, individuals must be either 
actively looking for work or on temporary layoff.)

These supplemental data come from questions added to the household survey beginning 
in May 2020 to help gauge the effects of the pandemic on the labor market. The data 
are not seasonally adjusted. Tables with estimates from the supplemental questions 
for all months are available online at

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment changed little in January (+49,000) but is below its
February 2020 level by 9.9 million, or 6.5 percent. In January, 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. (See table B-1. See the note at the end of this news 
release and table A for information about the annual benchmark process. See the box 
note at the end of this news release for more information about how the establishment
survey and its measures were affected by the coronavirus pandemic.)

In January, employment in professional and business services rose by 97,000, with 
temporary help services accounting for most of the gain (+81,000). Job growth also 
occurred in management and technical consulting services (+16,000), computer systems
design and related services (+11,000), and scientific research and development 
services (+10,000). These gains were partially offset by job losses in services to 
buildings and dwellings (-14,000) and in advertising and related services (-6,000). 
Since February, employment in professional and business services is down by 825,000.

In January, employment increased in local government education (+49,000), state 
government education (+36,000), and private education (+34,000). In both public and 
private education, pandemic-related employment declines in 2020 distorted the normal
seasonal buildup and layoff patterns. This likely contributed to the job gains in 
January (after seasonal adjustment). 

Wholesale trade continued to add jobs in January (+14,000). However, employment in
the industry is 263,000 below its February level.

In January, employment in mining increased by 9,000, with a gain of 8,000 in support
activities for mining. Mining employment is down by 133,000 since a recent peak in 
January 2019, though employment in the industry showed little change for several 
months prior to the uptick in January. 

In January, employment in leisure and hospitality declined by 61,000, following a 
steep decline in December (-536,000). In January, employment edged down in 
amusements, gambling, and recreation (-27,000) and in accommodation (-18,000). 
Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend down (-19,000). 
Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 8.2 million during March and April, 
increased by 4.9 million from May to November, and then declined by 597,000 over 
the past 2 months. Since February, employment in leisure and hospitality is down 
by 3.9 million, or 22.9 percent. 

Retail trade lost 38,000 jobs in January, after adding 135,000 jobs in December. Over 
the month, employment declined in general merchandise stores (-38,000), electronics 
and appliance stores (-29,000), and nonstore retailers (-15,000). These job losses
were partially offset by gains in food and beverage stores (+15,000), clothing and 
clothing accessories stores (+15,000), and health and personal care stores (+14,000).
Employment in retail trade is 383,000 lower than in February.

Employment in health care declined by 30,000 in January. Within the industry, job 
losses occurred in nursing care facilities (-19,000), home health care services 
(-13,000), and community care facilities for the elderly (-7,000). Since February, 
health care employment is down by 542,000.

Employment in transportation and warehousing declined by 28,000 in January and is 
164,000 lower than in February. In January, job losses occurred in warehousing and 
storage (-17,000) and in couriers and messengers (-14,000); however, employment in 
these industries is higher than in February by 97,000 and 137,000, respectively. 
Employment in air transportation increased by 15,000 over the month but is 105,000 
lower than in February.

Employment in manufacturing changed little over the month (-10,000), following 8 
months of growth. Within the industry, durable goods lost 17,000 jobs in January. 
Employment in manufacturing is up by 803,000 since April but is 582,000 lower than
in February.

Construction employment changed little over the month (-3,000), after increasing 
for 8 consecutive months. However, employment in the industry is down by 256,000 
since February.

In January, employment changed little in other major industries, including 
information, financial activities, and other services. 

In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls 
increased by 6 cents to $29.96. Average hourly earnings of private-sector 
production and nonsupervisory employees, at $25.18, changed little (+3 cents). The
large employment fluctuations over the past several months--especially in 
industries with lower-paid workers--complicate the analysis of recent trends in 
average hourly earnings. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 
0.3 hour to 35.0 hours in January. In manufacturing, the workweek also increased 
by 0.3 hour to 40.4 hours, and overtime was unchanged at 3.2 hours. The average 
workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls 
increased by 0.2 hour to 34.4 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised down by 
72,000, from +336,000 to +264,000, and the change for December was revised down 
by 87,000, from -140,000 to -227,000. With these revisions, employment in November
and December combined was 159,000 lower 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. The annual benchmark process also contributed to the November and 
December revisions.)

The Employment Situation for February is scheduled to be released on Friday, 
March 5, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).

|											|
|		     Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on January 2021     			|
|			Household and Establishment Survey Data				|
|											|
| Data collection for both surveys was affected by the pandemic. In the establishment 	|
| survey, more data continued to be collected by web than in months prior to the 	|
| pandemic. In the household survey, for the safety of both interviewers and 		|
| respondents, in-person interviews were conducted only when telephone interviews could |
| not be done. 										|
|											|
| Since March 2020, household survey interviewers have been instructed to classify 	|
| employed persons absent from work due to temporary, pandemic-related business 	|
| closures or cutbacks as unemployed on temporary layoff. As in earlier months, some 	|
| workers affected by the pandemic who should have been classified as unemployed on 	|
| temporary layoff were instead misclassified as employed but not at work. However, the |
| share of responses that may have been misclassified was highest in the early months 	|
| of the pandemic and has been considerably lower in recent months.			|
|											|
| For March through December, 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. However, this represents the 	|
| upper bound of our estimate of misclassification and probably overstates the size of  |
| the misclassification error. According to usual practice, the data from the household |
| survey are accepted as recorded. To maintain data integrity, no ad hoc actions are 	|
| taken to reclassify survey responses.							|
|											|
| More information about the impact of the pandemic on the two surveys is available at  |
|		|

			Revisions to Establishment Survey Data

In accordance with annual practice, the establishment survey data released today have 
been benchmarked to reflect comprehensive counts of payroll jobs for March 2020. These 
counts are derived principally from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW),
which counts jobs covered by the Unemployment Insurance (UI) tax system. The benchmark 
process results in revisions to not seasonally adjusted data from April 2019 forward. 
Seasonally adjusted data from January 2016 forward are subject to revision. In addition,
data for some series prior to 2016, both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, incorporate
other revisions. 

The total nonfarm employment level for March 2020 was revised downward by 250,000 (on a
not seasonally adjusted basis, -121,000 or -0.1 percent). Not seasonally adjusted, the 
absolute average benchmark revision over the past 10 years is 0.2 percent. 

The over-the-year change in total nonfarm employment for March 2020 was revised from 
+808,000 to +577,000 (seasonally adjusted). Table A presents revised total nonfarm 
employment data on a seasonally adjusted basis from January to December 2020.

All revised historical establishment survey data are available on the BLS website at In addition, an article that discusses the benchmark 
and post-benchmark revisions and other technical issues is available at 

Table A. Revisions to total nonfarm employment, January to December 2020, seasonally
(Numbers in thousands)
                 |                                   |                                
                 |                Level              |      Over-the-month change     
 Year and month  |           |    As     |           |           |    As    |           
                 |    As     |previously | Difference|    As     |previously| Difference
                 |  revised  |published  |           |  revised  |published |           
                 |           |           |           |           |          |           
       2020      |           |           |           |           |          |           
                 |           |           |           |           |          |           
January......... |  152,234  |  152,212  |      22   |    315    |    214   |   101
February........ |  152,523  |  152,463  |      60   |    289    |    251   |    38
March........... |  150,840  |  151,090  |    -250   | -1,683    | -1,373   |  -310
April........... |  130,161  |  130,303  |    -142   |-20,679    |-20,787   |   108
May............. |  132,994  |  133,028  |     -34   |  2,833    |  2,725   |   108
June............ |  137,840  |  137,809  |      31   |  4,846    |  4,781   |    65
July............ |  139,566  |  139,570  |      -4   |  1,726    |  1,761   |   -35
August.......... |  141,149  |  141,063  |      86   |  1,583    |  1,493   |    90
September....... |  141,865  |  141,774  |      91   |    716    |    711   |     5
October......... |  142,545  |  142,428  |     117   |    680    |    654   |    26
November........ |  142,809  |  142,764  |      45   |    264    |    336   |   -72
December(p)..... |  142,582  |  142,624  |     -42   |   -227    |   -140   |   -87 
   (p) = preliminary.

	     Adjustments to Population Estimates for the Household Survey

Effective with data for January 2021, updated population estimates were incorporated
into the household survey. Population estimates for the household survey are developed
by the U.S. Census Bureau. Each year, the Census Bureau updates the estimates to 
reflect new information and assumptions about the growth of the population since the 
previous decennial census. The change in population reflected in the new estimates 
results from adjustments for net international migration, updated vital statistics, 
and estimation methodology improvements. 

In accordance with usual practice, BLS will not revise the official household survey 
estimates for December 2020 and earlier months. To show the impact of the population 
adjustments, however, differences in selected December 2020 labor force series based 
on the old and new population estimates are shown in table B.

The adjustments decreased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional 
population in December by 476,000, the civilian labor force by 200,000, employment by
180,000, and unemployment by 20,000. The number of persons not in the labor force was
decreased by 277,000. The total unemployment rate, employment-population ratio, and 
labor force participation rate were unaffected.

Data users are cautioned that these annual population adjustments can affect the 
comparability of household data series over time. Table C shows the effect of the 
introduction of new population estimates on the comparison of selected labor force 
measures between December 2020 and January 2021. Additional information on the 
population adjustments and their effect on national labor force estimates is 
available at 

Population controls for veterans, which are derived from a Department of Veterans 
Affairs population model and are updated periodically, have also been updated with
the release of data for January 2021. Historical data have not been revised. 

Table B. Effect of the updated population controls on December 2020 estimates by sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, not seasonally adjusted
(Numbers in thousands)
Category Total Men Women White Black or
Asian Hispanic or

Civilian noninstitutional population

-476 -223 -252 -203 -45 -226 -187

Civilian labor force

-200 -100 -99 -46 -15 -135 -110

Participation rate

0 0 0 0 0.1 0 0


-180 -91 -89 -37 -14 -126 -99

Employment-population ratio

0 0 0 0.1 0 0 0.1


-20 -9 -10 -8 -1 -9 -12

Unemployment rate

0 0 -0.1 0 0 0 0

Not in labor force

-277 -123 -154 -157 -30 -91 -77

NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Estimates for the above race groups (White, Black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

Table C. December 2020-January 2021 changes in selected labor force measures, with adjustments for population control effects
(Numbers in thousands)
Category Dec.-Jan.
change, as
control effect
Dec.-Jan. change, after
removing the
population control

Civilian noninstitutional population

-379 -476 97

Civilian labor force

-406 -200 -206

Participation rate

-0.1 0 -0.1


201 -180 381

Employment-population ratio

0.1 0 0.1


-606 -20 -586

Unemployment rate

-0.4 0 -0.4

Not in labor force

27 -277 304

(1) This Dec.-Jan. change is calculated by subtracting the population control effect from the over-the-month change in the published seasonally adjusted estimates.

NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

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Last Modified Date: February 05, 2021