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18 Remarkable Employment Statistics and Trends to Know in 2019

by Darko Jacimovic

The employment statistics that have been researched and studied throughout the years will give you a good grasp on how the market is behaving and what trends it’s best to adopt. Moreover, this research is done on a regular basis to avoid any big surprises in the job market.

The data recently released to larger audiences suggests that the employment rate is in good standing. There’s even evidence suggesting that this year the unemployment rate will be the lowest of the last 50 years. That’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly—it means the state of affairs is performing quite well. Read on below to discover the latest trends and statistics for employment.

Employment Statistics 2019 (Editor’s Choice)

  • 20 million jobs have been created over the last 10 years.
  • The current unemployment rate stands at 3.7%.
  • In 2018, the total civil labor force in the US was 162.07 million people.
  • The total size of the payroll for non-farm jobs is expected to increase to 152.6 million people in January 2020.
  • The insurance industry didn’t grow as much as most other industries in the past years.
  • Wage growth was 3.2% higher this July, compared to last year.

The Latest Employment Statistics at a Glance

Employment statistics - Explanation

1. The US added 164,000 jobs in July only.

July will mark 106 consecutive months of positive job growth in the US market. This shows us that the US economy isn’t going to stop growing anytime soon and that there will be more and more jobs. However, wage growth is still somewhat lacking, even though it’s one of the main aspects that should accompany this truly astounding growth. If we consider that the same current employment statistics from 2018 had the same trend going on, it’s a safe bet to say that it will continue this year as well.

(The Guardian)

2. Each month, CES (Career and Employment Services) surveys approximately 142,000 businesses, delivering a wide pool of research and data.

CES surveys not only businesses but also government agencies, which isn’t something every country does. Each month, about 689,000 individual worksites are subjected to the survey, gathering the much-needed data that gives us an opportunity to see on a larger scale how the employment market is progressing. The employment data obtained from these surveys is invaluable in figuring out how the job market will behave in the future.


3. The current unemployment rate stands at 3.7%.

This number remains basically unchanged from the previous few months. It shows us that even though the naysayers may lament the state of the US economy, it is, in fact, in a rather healthy state. If this number remains unchanged in the coming months, we could easily say that this year is going to be a good one for the US. And the US employment statistics provided to us by CES only underline that statement. 


4. In 2018, the civil labor force in the US was 162.07 million people.

The aforementioned number shows us that the US has a strong working force, which is large enough to cover all of the country’s basic needs. If we take a closer look at these labor statistics numbers, we can even say that the labor force is large enough to cover more than just the basic needs. In addition to that, if we factor in the current employment statistics 2019 has to offer, it looks like there are few changes, compared to the previous year. 


5. 20 million jobs have been created over the last 10 years alone.

Since the recession ended back in 2009, the US economy has seen steady growth. While this growth has been perceived as recovery from the recession, the fact that it’s slower than the one from the ’90s is not a bad thing. Many economists are claiming that the slower growth allowed stability; hence, we now have a streak of growth for over 100 months in a row. 

6. The US employment statistics for 2019 show that wages were 3.2% higher this July compared to last year.

While this may give the impression that something good is happening, the wage growth that needs to go with this is still lacking, especially compared to the job growth percentage. This is an improvement compared to the 3.1% growth in June. However, it’s still lower than the wage growth peak of 3.4% noted in February. Looking at this piece of data, we can conclude that, while the number of jobs is steadily increasing, the US economy is, in fact, declining a bit.

(The Guardian)

US Employment Statistics by Year

Employment statistics - Brainstorming

After the great stock market crash back in 1929, the US government decided to track a few important employment metrics in order for the US economy to be ready the next time something like this would happen. We can see that in some cases the predictions didn’t do much to affect the inevitable events, both good and bad. However, looking at the US employment data today, we also can’t help but notice a few patterns that reappear periodically, based on a few events of a similar nature.

Thanks to the wonderful work of the ​U.S. Bureau of Labor, we now have multiple US unemployment rate metrics beginning with the stock market crash in 1929. We can use the knowledge from analyzing this employment data to gain fair insight into how the rates will continue to progress. 

However, in order to be able to fully understand and comprehend how the employment rates have acted over the years, we have to dig deep to get all the info we need. Below, you’ll find the statistics for a few key employment indicators, alongside important historical commentary, all divided into 10-year increments.

(BLS, The Balance)

7. The ’30s were a tough period for both the US economy and the US labor force. It should also be noted that the employment database we accessed for this decade isn’t necessarily 100% accurate. 

Year | Unemployment Rate | GDP Growth | Inflation (Year over Year) | Historical Event(s)

1929 3.2% NA 0.6% Market crash

1930 8.7% -8.5% -6.4% Smoot-Hawley

1931 15.9% -6.4% -9.3% Dust Bowl

1932 23.6% -12.9% -10.3% Hoover’s tax hikes

1933 24.9% -1.2% 0.8% FDR’s New Deal

1934 21.7% 10.8% 1.5% Great Depression abates

1935 20.1% 8.9% 3.0%  

1936 16.9% 12.9% 1.4%  

1937 14.3% 5.1% 2.9% Spending cuts

1938 19.0% -3.3% -2.8% FLSA introduces minimum wage

1939 17.2% 8.0% 0% Drought ends

8. The ’40s were predominantly affected by the Second World War and its aftermath. Employment statistics from the decade only confirm that despite the events of World War II, the US economy prospered.

Year | Unemployment Rate | GDP Growth | Inflation (Year over Year) | Historical Event(s)

1940 14.6% 8.8% 0.7% US Draft

1941 9.9% 17.7% 9.9% Pearl Harbor

1942 4.7% 18.9% 9.0% Defense triples

1943 1.9% 17.0% 3.0% Germany surrenders at Stalingrad

1944 1.2% 8.0% 2.3% Bretton Woods

1945 1.9% -1.0% 2.2% War ends. Minimum wage: $0.40

1946 3.9% -11.6% 18.1% Employment Act

1947 3.6% -1.1% 8.8% Marshall Plan negotiated

1948 4.0% 4.1% 3.0% Truman re-elected

1949 6.6% -0.6% -2.1% Fair Deal. NATO

9. The ’50s were a rather stable period of rebuilding and prospering after the war decade ended. The Bureau of Labor statistics we have from that time show that in this decade the US economy saw a steady climb to the top of the world. 

Year | Unemployment Rate | GDP Growth | Inflation (Year over Year) | Historical Event(s)

1950 4.3% 8.7% 5.9% Korean War. Minimum wage: $0.75

1951 3.1% 8.0% 6.0% Expansion

1952 2.7% 4.1% 0.8% Expansion

1953 4.5% 4.7% 0.7% Korean War ends

1954 5.0% -0.6% -0.7% Dow returns to 1929 level

1955 4.2% 7.1% 0.4%

1956 4.2% 2.1% 3.0% Minimum wage: $1.00

1957 5.2% 2.1% 2.9% Recession

1958 6.2% -0.7% 1.8%  

1959 5.3% 6.9% 1.7% Expansion

10. In the ’60s we see how certain tax measures affected the overall US economy as some issues began to form. In a way, the employment stats from this period foreshadow what’s to come in the ’70s. 

Year | Unemployment Rate | GDP Growth | Inflation (Year over Year) | Historical Event(s)

1960 6.6% 2.6% 1.4% Recession 

1961 6.0% 2.6% 0.7% JFK. Minimum wage: $1.15

1962 5.5% 6.1% 1.3% Cuban Missile Crisis

1963 5.5% 4.4% 1.6% LBJ. Minimum wage: $1.25

1964 5.0% 5.8% 1.0% Tax cut

1965 4.0% 6.5% 1.9% US enters the Vietnam War

1966 3.8% 6.6% 3.5% Expansion

1967 3.8% 2.7% 3.0% Minimum wage: $1.40

1968 3.4% 4.9% 4.7% Minimum wage: $1.60

1969 3.5% 3.1% 6.2% Nixon takes office

11. The ’70s were a turbulent period for the US economy. If we take a look at the progression of job growth statistics by year we can associate this decade with the greatest decline in unemployment since the start of World War II. 

Year | Unemployment Rate | GDP Growth | Inflation (Year over Year) | Historical Event(s)

1970 6.1% 0.2% 5.6% Recession

1971 6.0% 3.3% 3.3% Emergency Employment Act. Wage-price controls

1972 5.2% 5.3% 3.4% Ongoing stagflation. Watergate break-in

1973 4.9% 5.6% 8.7% CETA. The gold standard. Vietnam War ends

1974 7.2% -0.5% 12.3% Nixon resigns. Minimum wage: $2.00

1975 8.2% -0.2% 6.9% Recession ends

1976 7.8% 5.4% 4.9% Expansion

1977 6.4% 4.6% 6.7% Carter

1978 6.0% 5.5% 9.0% Fed raises rate to 20% to stop inflation

1979 6.0% 3.2% 13.3%  

12. The beginning of the ’80s marked one of the highest unemployment rates. However, if we look at the historical employment statistics from above, the rates may not have been as cumbersome as they seem. 

Year | Unemployment Rate | GDP Growth | Inflation (Year over Year) | Historical Event(s)

1980 7.2% -0.3% 12.5% Recession

1981 8.5% 2.5% 8.9% Reagan tax cuts. Minimum wage: $3.35

1982 10.8% -1.8% 3.8% Job Training Partnership Act. Garn–St. Germain Act

1983 8.3% 4.6% 3.8% Reagan increases military spending

1984 7.3% 7.2% 3.9%  

1985 7.0% 4.2% 3.8% Expansion

1986 6.6% 3.5% 1.1% Tax cuts 

1987 5.7% 3.5% 4.4%. Black Monday

1988 5.3% 4.2% 4.4% Fed raises the rate

1989 5.4% 3.7% 4.6% Reforms made to address S&L Crisis

13. While the ’90s were an era of recession, by the end of the decade, there seemed to be no lasting effect on the US economy. And the data from the era only furthers this notion.

Year | Unemployment Rate | GDP Growth | Inflation (Year over Year) | Historical Event(s)

1990 6.3% 1.9% 6.1% Recession

1991 7.3% -0.1% 3.1% Desert Storm. Minimum wage: $4.25

1992 7.4% 3.5% 2.9% NAFTA drafted

1993 6.5% 2.8% 2.7% Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act

1994 5.5% 4.0% 2.7% School to Work Act

1995 5.6% 2.7% 2.5% Expansion

1996 5.4% 3.8% 3.3% Welfare reform

1997 4.7% 4.4% 1.7% Minimum wage: $5.85

1998 4.4% 4.5% 1.6% LTCM crisis

1999 4.0% 4.8% 2.7% Euro–Serbian airstrike

14. While the birth of the new millennium saw the unemployment rate go down, by the end of the decade, occupational employment statistics showed us that it wouldn’t last.

Year | Unemployment Rate | GDP Growth | Inflation (Year over Year) | Historical Event(s)

2000 3.9% 4.1% 3.4% NASDAQ hits a record high

2001 5.7% 1.0% 1.6% Bush tax cuts. 9/11 attacks

2002 6.0% 1.7% 2.4% War on Terror

2003 5.7% 2.9% 1.9% JGTRRA

2004 5.4% 3.8% 3.3% Expansion

2005 4.9% 3.5% 3.4% Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Act. Katrina

2006 4.4% 2.9% 2.5% Expansion

2007 5.0% 1.9% 4.1% EU becomes the #1 economy 

2008 7.3% -0.1% 0.1% Minimum wage: $6.55. Financial crisis

2009 9.9% -2.5% 2.7% ARRA. Minimum wage: $7.25. Jobless benefits extended

2010 9.3% 2.6% 1.5% Obama tax cuts 

15. Now, at the cusp of a new decade, we’re seeing much more positive employment trends in 2019, all with a continuous and steady decline in the unemployment rate. 

Year | Unemployment Rate | GDP Growth | Inflation (Year over Year) | Historical Event(s)

2011 8.5% 1.6% 3.0% 26 months of job losses by July. Debt ceiling crisis. Iraq War ends

2012 7.9% 2.2% 1.7% QE. The 10-year rate at a 200-year low. Fiscal cliff

2013 6.7% 1.8% 1.5% Stocks up 30%

2014 5.6% 2.5% 0.8% Unemployment at 2007 levels

2015 5.0% 2.9% 0.7% Natural rate

2016 4.7% 1.6% 2.1% Trump

2017 4.1% 2.4% 2.1% Dollar weakens

2018 3.9% 2.9% 1.9% Trump tax cuts


After carefully analyzing the historical data listed above, you can fully grasp how different world events and government measures have affected the US economy and job market. In addition to that, you can also see how the unemployment rate has been battled throughout history, as well as some of the possible results of that battle.

In the remainder of this text, you’ll find the latest employment trends already in motion or those that are bound to happen anytime now.

Current Employment Trends

Employment statistics - Partnership

Looking at the historical data can provide us with some much-needed insight into how the job market will behave, as well as possibly predict how it’s going to evolve. However, in order to fully comprehend the job market, we’d have to factor in the latest changes affecting the trends.

16. The insurance industry hasn’t grown as much as other industries have in the past years.

Looking at the employment trends in the insurance industry, we can’t fail to notice that the job growth in that particular industry has been slightly lagging when compared to the growth of other industries. However, the efforts made to boost the insurance industry have yielded some positive results. 


17. The total size of the (non-farm) payroll in January 2020 is expected to increase to 152,597,000 people.

The same total for August 2019 is 151,541,000. The steady growth of the job market has been noticeable in the last decade, and special attention has been paid to keeping the unemployment rate at a minimum. The payroll employment forecast demonstrates that this is a trend that will continue to grow in the months to come.


18. Poor working conditions are still a major challenge for the global employment market.

Looking through the historical data we now have available, it seems that one prevalent issue consistently reappears throughout history, and that is poor working conditions. While this issue has been persistent, people usually don’t bother with finding possible ways to eliminate it. That being said, the current employment statistics survey suggests that modern companies have done much to tackle this issue and improve not only job satisfaction but also job efficiency. 


The Final Word

Employment statistics - agreement

No one can dispute that these statistics allow us to recognize different patterns and trends in how certain employment markets behave. However, in order to use this data properly, we need to factor in some variables that aren’t so easy to determine. One of these involves the variability of employment numbers, which have not been consistent throughout history.

Yet if we notice this aspect and factor it into the equation, we can start predicting trends. Although that may just be the beginning. After a while, you might even be able to see how different government rules and actions have affected both the job market and the unemployment rate. By carefully studying the employment statistics with an eye toward previous historical patterns, we should gain some much-needed insight into how the unemployment rate progresses in the US. 


The Guardian


The Balance





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