Job growth is a figure measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that tracks how many payroll jobs are created in the United States every month. The figure, along with employment levels, is used to measure economic expansion and an indicator for national economic health, as higher job growth numbers indicate increasing economic growth and a strengthening job market.
Job growth is reported each month as part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Situation Summary. The BLS sends out a survey each month and compiles and publishes the results. The job growth figure is expressed as the gross number of jobs created in the United States in the previous month.
The minimum level of job growth needed to mitigate the effects of new people entering the workforce is between 100,000 and 150,000 new jobs per month. It is believed that these are the minimum required numbers to have a positive, sustainable impact; however, consistently high job growth figures are believed to be indicative of rising interest rates and inflation.
The COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted employment and job growth in the U.S. In January 2020, the unemployment rate was low at 3.5%; however, by April 2020, the unemployment rate jumped over 11 points to 14.7%. As of January 2021, the unemployment rate is 6.3%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in January 2021, jobs rose by 49,000 after falling 227,000 in December 2020. Additionally, the labor market is still down 9.9 million jobs since February 2020.
Job Growth by State December 2020
Because different states have drastically different populations and are home to different industries, their job growth rates vary greatly. The latest state-by-state job growth data is from December 2020. Only two states saw job growth in December:
The other 48 states saw negative job growth in December 2020. The states that saw the smallest job losses are:
- Mississippi: -1.39%
- Alabama: -1.63%
- Georgia: -1.66%
- Nebraska: -2.08%
- South Carolina -2.37%
- Arkansas: -2.63%
- Arizona: -2.65%
- Montana: -2.70%
- South Dakota: -2.74%
- Indiana: -2.76%
Unfortunately, some states saw double-digit job loss. These states are:
Certain states see more job growth than others, and the same applies to industries. Leisure and hospitality are down 3.88 million since February 2020, the largest loss of any sector. Government and education and health services have the next largest losses at 1.327 million and 1.325 million. Utilities, mining and logging, and financial activities saw the lowest losses.