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BLS Report – October 2021

Unemployment Rate Edged Down by 0.2% to 4.6% as the Staffing Industry Continues to Be Candidate Driven

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 531,000 in October, and the unemployment rate edged down by 0.2 percentage point to 4.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job growth was widespread, with notable job gains in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in public education declined over the month.

The unemployment rate edged down to 4.6 percent in October. The number of unemployed persons, at 7.4 million, continued to trend down. Both measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. However, they remain above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers, at 2.1 million, changed little in October but is 828,000 higher than in February 2020. The number of persons on temporary layoff, at 1.1 million, was little changed over the month. In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) decreased by 357,000 to 2.3 million but is 1.2 million higher than in February 2020. The long-term unemployed accounted for 31.6 percent of the total unemployed in October.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.4 million, was little changed in October. 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. This measure has essentially returned to its February 2020 level.

INDUSTRY FOCUS

  • Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 164,000 in October and has risen by 2.4 million thus far in 2021. Over the month, employment rose by 119,000 in food services and drinking places and by 23,000 in accommodation.
  • Professional and business services added 100,000 jobs in October, including a gain of 41,000 in temporary help services. Employment continued to rise in management and technical consulting services (+14,000), other professional and technical services (+9,000), scientific research and development services (+6,000), and legal services (+5,000).
  • Employment in manufacturing increased by 60,000 in October, led by a gain in motor vehicles and parts (+28,000). Employment also rose in fabricated metal products (+6,000), chemicals (+6,000), and printing and related support activities (+4,000).
  • Employment in transportation and warehousing increased by 54,000 in October and is 149,000 above its February 2020 level. In October, job gains occurred in warehousing and storage (+20,000), transit and ground passenger transportation (+16,000), air transportation (+9,000), and truck transportation (+8,000).
  • Healthcare added 37,000 jobs in October, with most of the gain occurring in home health care services (+16,000) and nursing care facilities (+12,000). Employment in health care is down by 460,000 since February 2020.
  • In October, employment in retail trade rose by 35,000. Employment gains occurred in food and beverage stores (+16,000), general merchandise stores (+15,000), health and personal care stores (+8,000), and electronics and appliance stores (+6,000).
  • Employment in financial activities rose by 21,000 in October and has returned to its February 2020 level. Over the month, job growth occurred in real estate and rental and leasing (+12,000) and in securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+11,000).

Source: Bureau of Labor and Statistics, THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — October 2021

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