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Current Employment Statistics

Track How Jobs Changed Each Month Since 2008

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Current Employment Statistics

The U.S. needs to add 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with new workers.

Photo: Getty Images

The Bureau of Labor Statistics issues the "Employment Situation Summary" monthly. Also called the "Non-Farm Payroll" Report, it tells you the number of jobs added, and what fields they were in. It also reports how many people are unemployed, and their specific status. For more specifics, see Jobs Report and How Is Employment Defined?

It reports on the gain or decline from the previous month. This does not take into account seasonal variations, such as teachers who go on unpaid leave in the summer. For this reason, a better way to look at employment statistics is year-over-year.

Pay close attention to manufacturing employment, which is a really good indicator of the true health of the economy. That is because factories are less likely to add workers until they have the orders in hand. This provides a better leading indicator of future economic performance than does service employment, which stays more consistent through thick and thin.

Another key indicator within the Employment Report is the unemployment rate. This is not as useful for predicting future economic trends, since it is a lagging indicator. However, it is very good for confirming trends.

2014 Employment Reports

  • January - First estimate was 113,000 jobs, later revised to 144,000. The Dow rose 165 points.
  • February - Winter storms limited job creation to 175,000, later revised to 222,000.
  • March - A surprising 192,000 jobs were added, later revised to 203,000.
  • April - The initial report said 288,000 jobs were created, later revised to 282,000, then 304,,000.
  • May - A solid 224,000 jobs were added, mostly in health care (58,800), hotels/restaurants (45,000) and transportation (18,8000).  IT lost another 12,000 jobs. The initial report said 217,000 jobs were added.
  • June - Another 288,000 jobs were added, thanks to retail (40,200), hotels/restaurants (39,000), and healthcare (33,700). Fortunately, IT added 9,000 jobs.

2013 

MONTH JOBS CREATED (Final) JOBS CREATED (Original) COMMENTS
Jan 197,000 157,000  
Feb 280,000 236,000 Growth due to construction and retail trade.
Mar 141,000 88,000 Disappointing jobs report blamed on weather and retail layoffs.
Apr 203,000 165,000 The strong report sent the Dow above 15,000.
May 199,000 175,000 Dow rose 200 points. Housing added jobs.
Jun 201,000 195,000  
Jul 149,000 162,000 Most growth in low-paying retail and restaurants.
Aug 202,000 169,000 Job gains were in low-paying retail and restaurant sectors. 
Sep 164,000 143,000 Investors cheered because the Fed would keep monetary policy loose.
Oct 237,000 204,000 The government shutdown delayed the survey allowing more businesses to report.
Nov 274,000 203,000 Across-the-board job growth.
Dec 84,000 71,000 Job losses were across the board, mainly from poor holiday sales.

 

2012 

MONTH JOBS ADDED (Final) JOBS ADDED (Original) COMMENTS
Jan 360,000 243,000 Job growth was mainly in professional and business services, hospitality, and manufacturing
Feb 226,000 227,000 Business growth made everyone think the economy was finally healed.
Mar 243,000 120,000 Poor growth across the board, and retail shed jobs.
Apr 96,000 115,000 Two sectors weren't doing well -- construction and government. Housing was hampered by foreclosures, and government was cutting budgets.
May 110,000 65,000 Seasonal weakness sent the Dow down 275 points.
Jun 88,000 80,000 The Dow dropped 180 points on the poor jobs report.  
Jul 160,000 163,000 The Dow gained 217 points on the strong report.
Aug 150,000 96,000  
Sep 161,000 114,000 Former GE CEO Jack Welch was  suspicious that so many jobs were added right before the Presidential election. It's explained here.
Oct 225,000 171,000 The strong jobs report came out a week before the election. Data was collected before Superstorm Sandy hit.
Nov 203,000 146,000 The storm devastated New York, but didn't affect national jobs numbers.
Dec 214,000 155,000 Uncertainty over the fiscal cliff forced businesses hire less.

 

2011 

MONTH JOBS ADDED (Revised) JOBS ADDED (Original) COMMENTS
Jan 70,000 36,000 The economy had 984,000 more jobs than the year before.
Feb 168,000 192,000 Manufacturing jobs were up 189,000 year-over-year.
Mar 212,000 216,000  
Apr 322,000 244,000  
May 102,000 54,000 The poor jobs report sent the Dow and dollar down, and gold up.
Jun 217,000 18,000 The dismal jobs report panicked investors.
Jul 106,000 117,000 The Dow dropped 400 points despite job gains.
Aug 122,000 Astonishingly, absolutely no jobs were created, giving urgency to Obama's jobs speech the following week.
Sep 221,000 103,000 The economy added 2 million since the low point in February 2010, but was still down 6.7 million jobs since the high in January 2008.
Oct 183,000 80,000  
Nov 164,000 120,000 Strong retail sales boosted job growth.
Dec 196,000 200,000 The economy added 1.6 million jobs in 2011

 

2010 

MONTH JOBS ADDED (Revised) JOBS ADDED (Original) COMMENTS
Jan 18,000 N.A.  52,000 temporary jobs were added, of which 9,000 were for the Census.There were 4 million fewer jobs than the year before.
Feb -50,000 N.A. The economy had 3.2 million fewer jobs than February 2009. The Census added 15,000 temporary jobs, boosting the 48,000 temp jobs made available.
Mar 156,000 N.A. There were 2.3 million fewer jobs, and 633,000 fewer manufacturing jobs,  than a year earlier.
Apr 251,000 290,000 The Census added 63,000 temp jobs, and manufacturing added 44,000 jobs. But there's still 1.3 million fewer jobs than the year before.
May 516,000 431,000 The  Census added 411,000 temp jobs.
Jun -122,000 -125,000 The Census laid off 225,000 temp workers.
Jul -61,000 -121,000 The Census laid off 143,000, but business hiring was up by 71,000 jobs.
Aug -42,000 -31,000 There were 130.3 million jobs, a gain of 229,000 jobs in the past year and the first y-o-y job GAIN in 26 months.
Sep -57,000 -91,000 There were 130.2 million jobs, 344,000 more than the year earlier.
Oct -57,000 150,000 The economy had 829,000 more jobs than the year before.
Nov 137,000 39,000 There were 842,000 more jobs than the year before.
Dec 71,000 103,000 Businesses added 117,000 jobs, but government laid off 10,000.

 

2009 

MONTH JOBS ADDED (Revised)

JOBS ADDED (Original)

COMMENTS

Jan

-798,000

-598,000

The economy lost 2.4 million jobs, including 1 million manufacturing jobs, in the past 12 months.

Feb

-701,000

-651,000

4.1 million jobs, including 1.2 million in manufacturing, were lost Y-O-Y.

Mar

-826,000

-663,000

4.8 million jobs lost Y-O-Y, the most since the 2001 recession.
April -684,000 -611,000 There were 5.3 million fewer jobs than a year before.

May

-354,000

-345,000

Manufacturing was hit especially hard, as 1.6 million were lost Y-O-Y.

June

-467,000

-450,000

There were 5.4 million fewer jobs than the year before, including 1.6 million in manufacturing, Health care added 34,000 jobs.

July

-327,000

-247,000

There were 6 million fewer jobs than the prior July, including 1.67 manufacturing jobs.

Aug

-216,000

N.A.

The economy lost 6.2 million jobs in a year, including 1.66 manufacturing jobs.
Sep -227,000 N.A. The economy was down just 6 million jobs.
Oct -198,000 N.A. There were now 5.8 million fewer jobs than last year.
Nov -6,000   4.8 million jobs were lost in the past 12 months.
Dec -283,000   4.2 million jobs were lost in 2009. This trend has been improving since July, when the economy was down 6 million jobs. Also, manufacturing was down 1.3 million jobs in the past 12 months -- better than in June.

 

2008 

MONTH JOBS ADDED (Revised)  JOBS ADDED (Original) COMMENTS
Jan 15,000 -17,000 .6% growth over last year, but manufacturing lost  2.7% jobs. 
Feb -86,000 -63,000 .4% growth over last year, while manufacturing lost 3% of its jobs.
March -80,000 -80,000 This was the worst monthly job loss since the last recession, and  a mere .18% gain in the last year. The last time year-over-year job growth trended down this severely was in 2001, which led to 29 months of job losses.
April -214,000 -20,000 There were only .18% more jobs, and 3.38% fewer manufacturing jobs, than in April 2007
May -182,000 -49,000 Year-over-year, employment declined .11%. This was the first time there was a decline in year-over-year jobs since 2003, the end of the last recession. There were 3.55% fewer manufacturing jobs. 
June -172,000 -62,000 Employment wast .24% down from the prior year. Restaurant jobs also suffered, for the first time.
July -210,000 -51,000 In the last year 150,000 jobs were lost, a .37% decline.
Aug -259,000 -84,000 Employment declined .5% during the year.
Sep -452,000 -159,000 Employment declined .64% during the year.
Oct -474,000 -240,000 There were 1.5 million fewer jobs than last year.
Nov -765,000 -533,000 In the last 12 months, 1.9 million jobs were lost -- 604,000 were in manufacturing.
Dec -697,000 -524,000 Employment declined by 2.5 million jobs, faster than in the 2001 recession, which never lost more than 2.1 million jobs in any 12-month period.
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