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107.5 million private sector workers in pandemic-essential industries in 2019

February 22, 2021

We have used a list of pandemic-essential industries from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to count the number of workers in “essential industries” in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Just before the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2019 the United States had an average annual private employment of 107.5 million in essential industries.

Share of private employment in pandemic-essential industries, by recommended vaccination phase, 2019

Private employment in pandemic-essential industries, by recommended vaccination phase, 2019
State Phase 1a Phase 1b Phase 1c Phases 1a-1c
Employment in Essential Healthcare Industries Percent of total private employment Employment in Frontline Essential Industries Percent of total private employment Employment in Other Essential Industries Percent of total private employment All Essential Industries Percent of total private employment

U.S. total[1]

19,580,398 15.4% 22,630,240 17.9% 65,249,973 51.6% 107,460,611 85.0%

Alabama

217,262 13.4 375,321 23.1 804,270 49.6 1,396,853 86.1

Alaska

42,094 16.9 35,790 14.4 133,761 53.7 211,645 84.9

Arizona

383,353 15.3 382,546 15.2 1,347,449 53.6 2,113,348 84.1

Arkansas

167,417 16.4 243,237 23.8 492,307 48.2 902,961 88.3

California

2,349,336 15.5 2,617,881 17.3 7,698,613 50.9 12,665,830 83.7

Colorado

289,291 12.5 299,282 13.0 1,379,353 59.8 1,967,926 85.3

Connecticut

257,779 17.8 298,751 20.7 661,838 45.8 1,218,368 84.3

Delaware

68,635 17.6 51,277 13.2 209,325 53.8 329,237 84.6

District of Columbia

60,726 11.3 60,989 11.3 260,236 48.2 381,951 70.8

Florida

1,129,274 14.5 1,048,142 13.4 4,352,574 55.7 6,529,990 83.6

Georgia

481,614 12.5 649,953 16.8 2,044,013 53.0 3,175,580 82.3

Hawaii

65,440 12.2 56,426 10.5 306,383 57.1 428,249 79.8

Idaho

94,037 14.9 132,465 21.0 323,447 51.2 549,949 87.1

Illinois

761,659 14.6 960,074 18.4 2,595,277 49.8 4,317,010 82.8

Indiana

402,388 15.0 706,838 26.3 1,212,555 45.2 2,321,781 86.5

Iowa

179,942 13.7 337,423 25.7 638,489 48.7 1,155,854 88.1

Kansas

179,180 15.6 242,060 21.1 572,991 49.9 994,231 86.7

Kentucky

250,486 15.6 359,737 22.4 787,388 49.0 1,397,611 87.0

Louisiana

270,709 16.8 269,009 16.7 876,701 54.4 1,416,419 87.8

Maine

101,729 19.4 102,165 19.5 252,845 48.2 456,739 87.1

Maryland

364,869 16.5 298,390 13.5 1,192,759 54.0 1,856,018 84.1

Massachusetts

616,649 19.2 541,234 16.9 1,589,024 49.6 2,746,907 85.7

Michigan

589,184 15.5 874,511 23.1 1,766,824 46.6 3,230,519 85.2

Minnesota

459,924 18.3 493,222 19.6 1,208,460 48.0 2,161,606 85.9

Mississippi

127,916 14.2 211,547 23.5 447,595 49.6 787,058 87.3

Missouri

408,355 17.0 443,118 18.5 1,232,470 51.4 2,083,943 86.8

Montana

64,654 16.7 54,380 14.1 213,175 55.1 332,209 85.9

Nebraska

122,212 14.9 164,924 20.1 430,076 52.4 717,212 87.3

Nevada

127,979 10.2 120,825 9.7 805,987 64.5 1,054,791 84.4

New Hampshire

87,884 15.1 126,465 21.8 273,708 47.2 488,057 84.1

New Jersey

570,932 16.3 498,136 14.2 1,813,708 51.7 2,882,776 82.1

New Mexico

111,063 16.9 87,792 13.3 377,417 57.3 576,272 87.5

New York

1,571,449 19.3 1,193,325 14.7 3,907,324 48.1 6,672,098 82.2

North Carolina

499,236 13.2 722,610 19.0 1,959,426 51.7 3,181,272 83.9

North Dakota

57,904 16.5 46,228 13.2 200,476 57.0 304,608 86.7

Ohio

796,033 16.9 1,010,406 21.4 2,290,911 48.6 4,097,350 87.0

Oklahoma

190,768 14.7 233,642 18.0 702,170 54.2 1,126,580 86.9

Oregon

248,106 14.8 365,076 21.8 829,117 49.4 1,442,299 86.0

Pennsylvania

1,023,127 19.5 1,034,018 19.7 2,485,959 47.4 4,543,104 86.5

Rhode Island

66,781 15.7 74,244 17.5 197,378 46.5 338,403 79.7

South Carolina

208,611 11.8 378,840 21.4 909,178 51.2 1,496,629 84.4

South Dakota

59,444 16.7 73,067 20.6 180,778 50.9 313,289 88.1

Tennessee

375,373 14.4 506,314 19.4 1,326,944 50.8 2,208,631 84.5

Texas

1,455,574 13.6 1,632,114 15.3 6,109,466 57.1 9,197,154 86.0

Utah

151,965 11.8 225,485 17.6 720,105 56.1 1,097,555 85.5

Vermont

34,194 13.3 56,000 21.8 118,901 46.2 209,095 81.3

Virginia

431,685 13.4 467,563 14.5 1,811,246 56.1 2,710,494 84.0

Washington

401,849 14.0 570,550 19.9 1,497,702 52.2 2,470,101 86.0

West Virginia

118,597 21.4 83,825 15.1 282,493 51.0 484,915 87.6

Wisconsin

387,037 15.4 628,456 25.1 1,158,980 46.2 2,174,473 86.7

Wyoming

17,454 8.2 26,300 12.4 138,455 65.4 182,209 86.1

Puerto Rico

92,889 13.7 147,894 21.8 327,168 48.2 567,951 83.7

U.S. Virgin Islands

561 2.0 3,354 12.0 16,283 58.2 20,198 72.2

[1] U.S. totals exclude Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In 2019, 19.6 million people worked in essential industries falling under Phase 1a of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommended vaccination roll-out plan. These essential healthcare industries accounted for 15.5 percent of private employment in 2019. Another 22.6 million people (17.9 percent of private employment) worked in Phase 1b, frontline essential industries. There were 65.2 million people (51.6 percent) who worked in Phase 1c, other essential industries.

West Virginia had the highest rate of private industry essential healthcare (Phase 1a) employment at 21.4 percent, while the U.S. Virgin Islands had the lowest at 2.0 percent. Arkansas had the highest rate of private employment across all essential industries (Phase 1a, 1b, and 1c industries combined) at 88.3 percent, while the District of Columbia had the lowest at 70.8 percent.

These data are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Note that an essential industry differs from an essential occupation. Data presented in this article refer to the number of private sector employees in pandemic-essential industries. However, within any industry, different workers may be more or less “essential” based on their occupation.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, 107.5 million private sector workers in pandemic-essential industries in 2019 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/107-5-million-private-sector-workers-in-pandemic-essential-industries-in-2019.htm (visited October 19, 2021).

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