Many states have started to ease up on coronavirus related restrictions, allowing more businesses to open their doors and get their employees back to work. If you’re wondering what sort of impact we’re seeing the pandemic have on the job market, here’s the 4-1-1 on the latest employment stats from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While the job market continued to see overall minimal change, February saw some significant growth in certain industries as the pandemic’s tight grip on the job market began to loosen up.
The unemployment rate in February 2021 was at 6.2 percent, 0.1 percent points lower than in January.
Temporary layoffs also decreased by 517,000 to a total of 2.2 million, which is significantly lower than the recent high of 18 million last April 2020.
The average hourly earnings for all employees also increased by seven cents to $30.01. However, the average workweek for all employees declined by 0.3 hours to 34.6 hours in February.
22.7 percent of employed individuals teleworked due to the coronavirus pandemic in February. This is down from the 23.2 percent in January.
The amount of people who had been unable to work due to employer closure or lost business also decreased to 13.3 million from the 14.8 million in January as more and more businesses started opening their doors.
Half a million more people were able to look for work in February as a result of lifting restrictions in their area. That is 500,000 more job seekers ready to work!
379,000 more jobs were added in February of this year, led by leisure and hospitality with small gains in temporary help services. In February, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 355,000, as pandemic-related restrictions eased in some parts of the country. About four-fifths of the increase was in food services and drinking places that were able to open their doors last month.
Temporary help services helped add 53,000 temp and temp-to-hire jobs to the workforce in February of 2021. We also noted some important job changes in the following industries:
Employment in construction fell by 61,000 in February, largely reflecting declines in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-37,000) and heavy and civil engineering construction (-21,000). Severe winter weather across much of the country may have held down employment in construction.
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Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021b, March 5). The Employment Situation - February 2021 [Press release]. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf