The December 2020 Jobs Report: What is the Current US Employment Situation?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly overview of the US employment situation and the data for December looks discouraging compared to November as COVID-19 cases have increased. The labor department jobs report examines a range of US jobs data to gauge the overall health of the US economy, specifically the number of jobs added, the unemployment rate, and what industries are hiring now.
The December jobs report shows a downturn in the labor market. Unemployment remained at 6.7% and total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 140,000, while the number of unemployed persons stayed at 10.7 million (compared to 5.8 million in February).
Here are some other key statistics from the labor department jobs report:
- 23.7% percent of employed persons teleworked specifically due to the coronavirus pandemic. That’s a slight increase from 21.8% in November.
- 15.8 million people were unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. This number has increased by 1.0 million since November.
- 4.6 million people who were not in the labor force in December were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic. This number has increased by 700,000 since November.
Although we have seen slow but steady job gains over the last several months, December brought more job declines than gains in industries hiring in 2020. We saw the greatest employment decline in the hospitality industry and the largest job gains in the professional and business services field. Here’s how industries were impacted in December:
Overall, the labor department jobs report suggests that the economy is still sluggish due to the impact of the pandemic and increasing COVID-19 cases.