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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-21-0002
8:30 a.m. (ET) Friday, January 8, 2021

Technical information: 
 Household data:	cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
 Establishment data:	cesinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:		(202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov

	
			   THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- DECEMBER 2020


Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000 in December, and the unemployment rate
was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The 
decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases 
and efforts to contain the pandemic. In December, job losses in leisure and hospitality and
in private education were partially offset by gains in professional and business services,
retail trade, and construction. 

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.

 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|		   Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data		|
|											|
| Seasonally adjusted household survey data have been revised using updated seasonal 	|
| adjustment factors, a procedure done at the end of each calendar year. Seasonally 	|
| adjusted estimates back to January 2016 were subject to revision. The unemployment	|
| rates for January 2020 through November 2020 (as originally published and as revised) |
| appear in table A at the end of this news release, along with additional information  |
| about the revisions.									|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


Household Survey Data

In December, both the unemployment rate, at 6.7 percent, and the number of unemployed 
persons, at 10.7 million, were unchanged. Although both measures are much lower than their
April highs, they are nearly twice their pre-pandemic levels in February (3.5 percent and 
5.7 million, respectively). (See table A-1. For more information about how the household
survey and its measures were affected by the coronavirus pandemic, see the box note at the
end of this news release.) 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for teenagers (16.0 percent) and 
Hispanics (9.3 percent) increased in December. The jobless rates for adult men (6.4 
percent), adult women (6.3 percent), Whites (6.0 percent), Blacks (9.9 percent), and 
Asians (5.9 percent) showed little change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.) 

Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff increased by 277,000 in 
December to 3.0 million. This measure is down considerably from the high of 18.0 million 
in April but is 2.3 million higher than in February. The number of permanent job losers 
declined by 348,000 to 3.4 million in December but is up by 2.1 million since February. 
The number of unemployed reentrants increased by 282,000 to 2.3 million over the month, 
452,000 higher than in February. (See table A-11.) 

In December, the number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks increased by 449,000 to 2.9
million, while the number of persons jobless 15 to 26 weeks declined by 303,000 to 1.6 
million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 4.0
million, was essentially unchanged in December but has increased by 2.8 million since 
February. The number of those jobless for 27 weeks or more accounted for 37.1 percent of
total unemployed in December. (See table A-12.) 

The labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio were both 
unchanged over the month, at 61.5 percent and 57.4 percent, respectively. These measures 
are up from their recent April lows but are lower than in February by 1.8 percentage
points and 3.7 percentage points, respectively. (See table A-1.) 

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 6.2 million, decreased
by 471,000 over the month. This measure is down from its April high of 10.9 million but
is 1.8 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.) 

In December, the number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job, at 
7.3 million, was little changed over the month but is 2.3 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.) 

Among those not in the labor force who currently want a job, the number of persons 
marginally attached to the labor force, at 2.2 million, changed little in December but
is up by 749,000 since February. 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 essentially 
unchanged at 663,000 in December but is up by 262,000 since February. (See Summary 
table A.)  

Household Survey Supplemental Data

In December, 23.7 percent of employed persons teleworked because of the coronavirus 
pandemic, up from 21.8 percent in November. 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 December, 15.8 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 1.0 million higher than in November. Among those who reported in 
December that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost 
business, 12.8 percent received at least some pay from their employer for the hours 
not worked, little changed from November.  

Among those not in the labor force in December, 4.6 million persons were prevented 
from looking for work due to the pandemic. This measure is up from 3.9 million in
November. (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 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 
www.bls.gov/cps/effects-of-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic.htm. 

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000 in December. Employment declines
in leisure and hospitality, private education, and government were partially offset by
gains in professional and business services, retail trade, construction, and 
transportation and warehousing. In December, nonfarm employment was below its February
level by 9.8 million, or 6.5 percent. (See table B-1. For more information about how 
the establishment survey and its measures were affected by the coronavirus pandemic,
see the box note at the end of this news release.)

In December, employment in leisure and hospitality declined by 498,000, with three-
quarters of the decrease in food services and drinking places (-372,000). Employment
also fell in the amusements, gambling, and recreation industry (-92,000) and in the 
accommodation industry (-24,000). Since February, employment in leisure and 
hospitality is down by 3.9 million, or 23.2 percent. 

Employment in private education decreased by 63,000 in December. Employment in the
industry is down by 450,000 since February.

Government employment declined by 45,000 in December. Employment in the component of 
local government that excludes education declined by 32,000, and state government 
education lost 20,000 jobs. Federal government employment increased by 6,000. Since 
February, government employment overall is down by 1.3 million. 

Other services lost 22,000 jobs in December, with over half of the loss in personal
and laundry services (-12,000). Employment in the other services industry is down by 
453,000 since February.

In December, employment in professional and business services increased by 161,000,
with a large gain in temporary help services (+68,000). Job growth also occurred in 
computer systems design and related services (+20,000), other professional and technical
services (+11,000), management of companies and enterprises (+11,000), and business 
support services (+7,000). Employment in professional and business services is down by
858,000 since February.

Retail trade added 121,000 jobs in December, with nearly half of the growth occurring
in the component of general merchandise stores that includes warehouse clubs and 
supercenters (+59,000). Job gains also occurred in nonstore retailers (+14,000), 
automobile dealers (+13,000), health and personal care stores (+10,000), and food and
beverage stores (+8,000). Employment in retail trade is 411,000 lower than in February.

Construction added 51,000 jobs in December, but employment in the industry is 226,000 
below its February level. In December, employment rose in residential specialty trade 
contractors (+14,000) and residential building (+9,000), two industries that have 
gained back the jobs lost in March and April. In December, employment also increased 
in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+18,000) and in heavy and civil 
engineering construction (+15,000).

Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 47,000 in December, largely in 
couriers and messengers (+37,000). While employment in transportation and warehousing
overall is 89,000 lower than in February, employment in couriers and messengers has
increased by 222,000 over the same period. In December, employment also grew in 
warehousing and storage (+8,000) and in truck transportation (+7,000), while transit
and ground passenger transportation lost 9,000 jobs. 

In December, health care added 39,000 jobs. Employment growth in hospitals (+32,000)
and ambulatory health care services (+21,000) was partially offset by declines in 
nursing care facilities (-6,000) and community care facilities for the elderly (-5,000).
Health care employment is 502,000 lower than in February.

In December, manufacturing employment increased by 38,000, with gains in motor vehicles
and parts (+7,000), plastics and rubber products (+7,000), and nonmetallic mineral 
products (+6,000). By contrast, miscellaneous nondurable goods manufacturing lost 
11,000 jobs over the month. Despite gains over the past 8 months, employment in 
manufacturing is 543,000 below its February level.

Wholesale trade employment rose by 25,000 in December but is down by 251,000 since 
February. In December, job gains occurred in durable goods (+11,000) and nondurable
goods (+11,000).

In December, employment changed little in other major industries, including mining,
information, and financial activities.

In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
increased by 23 cents to $29.81. Average hourly earnings of private-sector 
production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 20 cents to $25.09. These 
increases largely reflect the disproportionate number of lower-paid workers in 
leisure and hospitality who went off payrolls, which put upward pressure on the 
average hourly earnings estimates. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 0.1
hour to 34.7 hours in December. In manufacturing, the workweek was unchanged at 
40.2 hours, and overtime increased by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek
for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was 
unchanged at 34.2 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised up by 
44,000, from +610,000 to +654,000, and the change for November was revised up by 
91,000, from +245,000 to +336,000. With these revisions, employment in October 
and November combined was 135,000 more 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 Employment Situation for January is scheduled to be released on Friday, 
February 5, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. (ET).


 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|		      Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on December 2020 			|
|			  Establishment and Household Survey Data			|
|											|
| Data collection for both surveys was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. |
| In the establishment survey, approximately one-fifth of the establishments are 	|
| assigned to four regional data collection centers for collection. Although these 	|
| centers were closed, interviewers at these centers worked remotely to collect data by |
| telephone. Additionally, BLS encouraged businesses to report electronically. The 	|
| collection rate for the establishment survey was 76 percent in December, about the 	|
| same as the average for the 12 months ending in February 2020. The household survey 	|
| is generally conducted through in-person and telephone interviews. However, for the 	|
| safety of both interviewers and respondents, in-person interviews were conducted only |
| when telephone interviews could not be done. The household survey response rate was 	|
| 77 percent in December, considerably higher than the low of 65 percent in June but 	|
| below the average of 83 percent for the 12 months ending in February 2020. 		|
|											|
| In the establishment survey, workers who are paid by their employer for all or any 	|
| part of the pay period including the 12th of the month are counted as employed, even 	|
| if they were not actually at their jobs. Workers who are temporarily or permanently 	|
| absent from their jobs and are not being paid are not counted as employed, even if 	|
| they continue to receive benefits. 							|
|											|
| In the household survey, individuals are classified as employed, unemployed, or not 	|
| in the labor force based on their answers to a series of questions about their 	|
| activities during the survey reference week (December 6th through December 12th). 	|
| Workers who indicate they were not working during the entire survey reference week 	|
| and expect to be recalled to their jobs should be classified as unemployed on 	|
| temporary layoff. As in recent months, a large number of persons were classified as 	|
| unemployed on temporary layoff in December.     					|
|											|
| Since March, household survey interviewers have been instructed to classify employed 	|
| persons absent from work due to temporary, coronavirus-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 November, BLS published an estimate of what the unemployment rate 	|
| would have been had misclassified workers been included among the unemployed. 	|
| Repeating this same approach, the overall December 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 is available at 							|
| www.bls.gov/covid19/employment-situation-covid19-faq-december-2020.htm.  		|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|			Upcoming Changes to Household Survey Data			|
|											|
| Effective with the release of The Employment Situation for January 2021 on February	|
| 5, 2021, new population controls will be used in the household survey estimation 	|
| process. These new controls reflect the annual update of intercensal population 	|
| estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau. In accordance with usual practice, historical 	|
| data will not be revised to incorporate the new controls; consequently, household 	|
| survey data for January 2021 will not be directly comparable with data for December 	|
| 2020 or earlier periods. A table showing the effects of the new controls on the major |
| labor force series will be included in the January 2021 news release. In addition, 	|
| the population controls for veterans, which are derived from a Department of Veterans |
| Affairs population model and are updated periodically, will also be updated with the 	|
| release of January data.								|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


 _______________________________________________________________________________________
|											|
|		     Upcoming Revisions to Establishment Survey Data 			|
|											|
| Effective with the release of The Employment Situation for January 2021 on February 	|
| 5, 2021, the establishment survey will revise nonfarm payroll employment, hours, and 	|
| earnings data to reflect the annual benchmark process and updated seasonal adjustment |
| factors. Not seasonally adjusted data beginning with April 2019 and seasonally 	|
| adjusted data beginning with January 2016 are subject to revision. Consistent with 	|
| standard practice, additional historical data may be revised as a result of the	|
| benchmark process.									|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________|


		  Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data

At the end of each calendar year, BLS routinely updates the seasonal adjustment factors 
for the national labor force series derived from the household survey. As a result of 
this process, seasonally adjusted data for January 2016 through November 2020 were 
subject to revision. (Not seasonally adjusted data were not subject to revision.) 

Table A shows the unemployment rates for January 2020 through November 2020, as first 
published and as revised. The rates changed by one-tenth of a percentage point in 3 of 
the 11 months and were unchanged in the remaining 8 months. Revised seasonally adjusted
data for other major labor force series beginning in December 2019 appear in table B. 

More information on this year's revisions to seasonally adjusted household series is 
available at www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cps-seas-adjustment-methodology.pdf. Detailed 
information on the seasonal adjustment methodology is found at 
www.bls.gov/cps/seasonal-adjustment-methodology.htm.

Historical data for the household series contained in the A tables of this news release
can be accessed at www.bls.gov/cps/cpsatabs.htm. Revised historical seasonally adjusted
data are available at www.bls.gov/cps/data.htm and 
https://download.bls.gov/pub/time.series/ln/.


Table A. Seasonally adjusted unemployment rates in 2020 and changes due to revision
January - November 2020


Month                  As First Computed          As Revised              Change

January.............                 3.6                 3.5                -0.1
February............                 3.5                 3.5                 0.0
March...............                 4.4                 4.4                 0.0
April...............                14.7                14.8                 0.1
May.................                13.3                13.3                 0.0
June................                11.1                11.1                 0.0
July................                10.2                10.2                 0.0
August..............                 8.4                 8.4                 0.0
September...........                 7.9                 7.8                -0.1
October.............                 6.9                 6.9                 0.0
November............                 6.7                 6.7                 0.0




HOUSEHOLD DATA
Table B. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]
Employment status, sex, and age 2019 2020
Dec. Jan. Feb. Mar. Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.

TOTAL

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

260,181 259,502 259,628 259,758 259,896 260,047 260,204 260,373 260,558 260,742 260,925 261,085 261,230

Civilian labor force

164,579 164,455 164,448 162,721 156,478 158,200 159,797 160,085 160,818 160,078 160,718 160,536 160,567

Participation rate

63.3 63.4 63.3 62.6 60.2 60.8 61.4 61.5 61.7 61.4 61.6 61.5 61.5

Employed

158,735 158,659 158,732 155,536 133,370 137,224 142,100 143,777 147,276 147,543 149,669 149,809 149,830

Employment-population ratio

61.0 61.1 61.1 59.9 51.3 52.8 54.6 55.2 56.5 56.6 57.4 57.4 57.4

Unemployed

5,844 5,796 5,717 7,185 23,109 20,975 17,697 16,308 13,542 12,535 11,049 10,728 10,736

Unemployment rate

3.6 3.5 3.5 4.4 14.8 13.3 11.1 10.2 8.4 7.8 6.9 6.7 6.7

Men, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

117,413 117,110 117,181 117,254 117,330 117,410 117,492 117,580 117,672 117,763 117,854 117,936 118,010

Civilian labor force

83,996 83,970 83,930 83,171 80,490 81,073 81,922 81,861 82,461 82,293 82,505 82,226 82,244

Participation rate

71.5 71.7 71.6 70.9 68.6 69.1 69.7 69.6 70.1 69.9 70.0 69.7 69.7

Employed

81,373 81,329 81,235 79,785 69,975 71,668 73,605 74,173 75,903 76,258 77,013 76,777 77,004

Employment-population ratio

69.3 69.4 69.3 68.0 59.6 61.0 62.6 63.1 64.5 64.8 65.3 65.1 65.3

Unemployed

2,623 2,641 2,695 3,385 10,515 9,405 8,317 7,688 6,558 6,036 5,492 5,449 5,240

Unemployment rate

3.1 3.1 3.2 4.1 13.1 11.6 10.2 9.4 8.0 7.3 6.7 6.6 6.4

Women, 20 years and over

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

126,082 125,770 125,841 125,915 125,991 126,072 126,155 126,243 126,336 126,429 126,520 126,604 126,681

Civilian labor force

74,616 74,502 74,501 73,657 70,896 71,548 72,479 72,866 72,728 71,865 72,255 72,395 72,422

Participation rate

59.2 59.2 59.2 58.5 56.3 56.8 57.5 57.7 57.6 56.8 57.1 57.2 57.2

Employed

72,172 72,099 72,171 70,691 59,938 61,630 64,321 65,270 66,667 66,328 67,534 67,941 67,872

Employment-population ratio

57.2 57.3 57.4 56.1 47.6 48.9 51.0 51.7 52.8 52.5 53.4 53.7 53.6

Unemployed

2,443 2,404 2,330 2,966 10,958 9,918 8,158 7,596 6,061 5,537 4,721 4,453 4,551

Unemployment rate

3.3 3.2 3.1 4.0 15.5 13.9 11.3 10.4 8.3 7.7 6.5 6.2 6.3

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years

Civilian noninstitutional population(1)

16,686 16,622 16,606 16,590 16,574 16,566 16,557 16,550 16,550 16,551 16,551 16,545 16,538

Civilian labor force

5,967 5,982 6,017 5,894 5,093 5,579 5,396 5,358 5,630 5,920 5,958 5,915 5,900

Participation rate

35.8 36.0 36.2 35.5 30.7 33.7 32.6 32.4 34.0 35.8 36.0 35.8 35.7

Employed

5,190 5,231 5,326 5,060 3,457 3,926 4,174 4,333 4,706 4,957 5,122 5,091 4,955

Employment-population ratio

31.1 31.5 32.1 30.5 20.9 23.7 25.2 26.2 28.4 29.9 30.9 30.8 30.0

Unemployed

778 751 691 834 1,636 1,653 1,222 1,024 924 963 836 825 946

Unemployment rate

13.0 12.6 11.5 14.1 32.1 29.6 22.6 19.1 16.4 16.3 14.0 13.9 16.0

Footnotes
(1) The population figures are not adjusted for seasonal variation.

NOTE: Seasonally adjusted data have been revised to reflect updated seasonal adjustment factors.

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Last Modified Date: January 08, 2021