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Payroll employment up by 379,000 in February; down 9.5 million in the last 12 months

March 09, 2021

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 379,000 in February 2021 but is down by 9.5 million, or 6.2 percent, from its level before the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020. Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 355,000, as pandemic-related restrictions eased in some parts of the country. Employment also rose in professional and business services (+63,000), education and health services (+44,000), and retail trade (+41,000) in February.

Changes in nonfarm payroll employment by industry, February 2021

Changes in nonfarm payroll employment by industry, February 2021
Industry 1-month net change 12-month net change 1-month percent change 12-month percent change February 2021 employment

Total nonfarm

379,000 -9,475,000 0.3% -6.2% 143,048,000

Mining and logging

-8,000 -101,000 -1.3 -14.6 589,000

Logging

100 -2,100 0.2 -4.3 46,600

Mining

-8,200 -98,500 -1.5 -15.4 542,400

Construction

-61,000 -308,000 -0.8 -4.0 7,340,000

Construction of buildings

2,000 -30,500 0.1 -1.8 1,664,100

Heavy and civil engineering construction

-20,800 -78,200 -2.0 -7.0 1,032,600

Specialty trade contractors

-42,200 -199,100 -0.9 -4.1 4,643,500

Manufacturing

21,000 -561,000 0.2 -4.4 12,238,000

Durable goods

17,000 -407,000 0.2 -5.1 7,600,000

Nondurable goods

4,000 -154,000 0.1 -3.2 4,638,000

Wholesale trade

3,600 -260,500 0.1 -4.4 5,634,700

Durable goods

-1,400 -132,100 0.0 -4.1 3,085,700

Nondurable goods

6,300 -92,600 0.3 -4.3 2,070,800

Electronic markets and agents and brokers

-1,300 -35,800 -0.3 -7.0 478,200

Retail trade

41,100 -362,600 0.3 -2.3 15,247,200

Motor vehicle and parts dealers

6,600 -92,400 0.3 -4.5 1,951,100

Building material and garden supply stores

-2,200 132,000 -0.2 10.2 1,425,000

Food and beverage stores

9,800 88,500 0.3 2.9 3,163,400

Health and personal care stores

11,900 -43,800 1.2 -4.2 989,400

Clothing and clothing accessories stores

-20,000 -294,400 -2.0 -23.2 976,200

General merchandise stores

14,400 103,800 0.5 3.5 3,103,200

Transportation and warehousing

4,400 -164,700 0.1 -2.8 5,658,400

Air transportation

-8,200 -112,200 -2.0 -21.7 404,700

Truck transportation

-4,000 -49,100 -0.3 -3.2 1,475,700

Transit and ground passenger transportation

8,600 -126,100 2.4 -25.6 366,600

Support activities for transportation

500 -73,900 0.1 -9.7 690,800

Couriers and messengers

9,000 147,500 0.9 16.7 1,030,300

Warehousing and storage

-1,100 88,500 -0.1 6.7 1,416,200

Utilities

-400 -8,600 -0.1 -1.6 538,800

Information

-3,000 -248,000 -0.1 -8.5 2,666,000

Publishing industries, except Internet

-2,500 -22,800 -0.3 -2.9 762,500

Motion picture and sound recording industries

-900 -187,700 -0.4 -42.5 254,200

Broadcasting, except Internet

1,100 -15,400 0.4 -5.8 248,800

Telecommunications

-3,400 -24,500 -0.5 -3.5 683,500

Data processing, hosting and related services

1,800 -7,600 0.5 -2.1 355,400

Other information services

1,400 9,800 0.4 2.8 361,800

Financial activities

-5,000 -105,000 -0.1 -1.2 8,770,000

Finance and insurance

-1,400 23,600 0.0 0.4 6,537,000

Real estate and rental and leasing

-4,300 -129,000 -0.2 -5.5 2,232,600

Professional and business services

63,000 -771,000 0.3 -3.6 20,698,000

Professional and technical services

22,800 -130,600 0.2 -1.3 9,578,100

Management of companies and enterprises

-1,800 -93,300 -0.1 -3.8 2,331,700

Administrative and waste services

41,400 -547,000 0.5 -5.9 8,787,800

Education and health services

44,000 -1,298,000 0.2 -5.3 23,267,000

Health care

19,900 -577,600 0.1 -3.5 15,914,500

Educational services

-2,400 -389,800 -0.1 -10.3 3,388,900

Social assistance

25,700 -331,200 0.7 -7.7 3,963,200

Leisure and hospitality

355,000 -3,451,000 2.7 -20.4 13,464,000

Arts, entertainment, and recreation

33,000 -774,300 1.9 -30.9 1,727,600

Accommodation and food services

321,600 -2,676,600 2.8 -18.6 11,736,300

Other services

10,000 -446,000 0.2 -7.5 5,491,000

Repair and maintenance

-8,900 -60,200 -0.7 -4.4 1,303,900

Personal and laundry services

15,100 -247,300 1.2 -15.8 1,318,800

Membership associations and organizations

3,600 -138,400 0.1 -4.6 2,868,500

Government

-86,000 -1,389,000 -0.4 -6.1 21,446,000

Federal

-3,000 2,000 -0.1 0.1 2,865,000

State government

-39,000 -358,000 -0.8 -6.8 4,945,000

Local government

-44,000 -1,033,000 -0.3 -7.0 13,636,000

In February, employment decreased in local government (−44,000) and state government (−39,000). Pandemic-related employment declines in 2020 distorted the normal seasonal buildup and layoff patterns in education, making it more challenging to discern the current employment trends in these industries.

From February 2020 to February 2021, employment fell across all major industries. Employment in leisure and hospitality declined over the year by 3.5 million, or 20.4 percent. Education and health services lost 1.3 million jobs, with nearly half (578,000) of these losses in health care.

Within professional and business services, employment in administrative and waste services fell by 547,000 since February 2020.

Employment in retail trade declined by 363,000 in the last 12 months. Following steep job losses in March and April 2020 (−2.4 million jobs over the 2 months combined), retail trade has added 2.0 million jobs from May 2020 through February 2021.

Employment in mining and logging decreased over the year by 101,000, or 14.6 percent. After an employment peak in January 2019, mining has lost 153,000 jobs, with nearly two-thirds of the loss occurring since February 2020.

These data are from the Current Employment Statistics program and are seasonally adjusted. Data for the most recent 2 months are preliminary. To learn more, see "The Employment Situation — February 2021." Also see more charts of national employment, hours, and earnings data and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the February data.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Payroll employment up by 379,000 in February; down 9.5 million in the last 12 months at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2021/payroll-employment-up-by-379000-in-february-down-9-5-million-in-the-last-12-months.htm (visited May 11, 2021).

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