Employment statistics are essential in understanding how the job market behaves and which trends will pop up in the future in order to establish a clear social and employment picture.
In the midst of this pandemic crisis, the US has endured the worst employment rate in the past 70 years. However, since May, things took a turn for the better, and we now see a rise in employment for 3 months in a row.
Let’s dig in deeper and take a look at what the numbers say:
US Employment Statistics 2020 (Editor’s Choice)
- In 2009 there were 139.88 million employed US citizens
- A record of 157.5 million Americans were employed in 2019
- 11 of 51 states have a double-digit figure of unemployment
- With 18.3%, El Centro is the state with the highest unemployment rate
- 58.7% of African Americans are currently employed
- Only 2.7% of the Asian population in the US is unemployed
- Canada has an employment rate of 57.3%
- 73.1% is recorded to be the highest employment rate in Europe
Employment Numbers by Year in the US
1. 117.8 million Americans were employed by the end of 1989.
In 1989, employment in the US slowed down and experienced a slight change, contrary to experts’ predictions.
Even though unemployment rates remained stable, job loss occurred across all industries, with manufacturing being the hardest hit. By the end of 1989, around 117.8 million US workers remained on the payroll.
2. In 1999, 133.5 million Americans were counted as employed.
(Source: Trading Economics)
The employment rate in the US took a strong hit in 1992 and looked less likely to recover. However, from that year on, the numbers went only one direction — up!
By the end of 1999, 133.5 million Americans were employed, recording an astonishing employment percentage of 64.4!
3. 139.88 million US citizens hung onto their jobs in 2009.
After the financial crisis of 2008, things didn’t look good at all for Americans. The country was wrapped up in despair after being hit with another dark period, similar to that of the Great Depression.
Unemployment statistics show that about 5.48 million working men and women lost their jobs in 2009. Not only were people losing their jobs, but many also lost their life’s savings, homes, and businesses in what would appear to be another grave period with lasting consequences.
4. 2019 saw a record of 157.5 million Americans having a job.
The United States economy recovered in 2010 and has since been stable, recording only positive yearly job growth numbers. With the US employment rate rising by year, in 2019, there was a record of 157.5 million Americans with a job.
Unemployment was at its lowest numbers, yet again, with only 3.6% of the civilian labor force being unemployed. The year ended with a stunning 61% of the labor force being employed.
5. The lowest employment rate is recorded in April of 2020, with 51.3% of Americans employed.
(Source: Trading Economics)
2020 started out promising for Americans as the US employment rate and numbers remained steady throughout, recording only a slight increase.
However, things quickly changed as the worldwide pandemic took a course towards the states. With general lockdowns, less movement, and fewer spending, the economy got hurt with many businesses temporarily or permanently shutting down, leaving thousands of people without a job.
The rate went down from 60% in March to 51.3% in April, a record low for the past 70 years.
6. The highest employment rate in US history was recorded in April of 2000, with 64.7% of Americans employed.
(Source: Trading Economics)
Contrary to today’s worldwide crisis, and the record low unemployment rate in April of 2020, the turn of the millennia for the United States was a giant leap forward in terms of job growth. Not only did companies and businesses flourish, but their employees were more enthusiastic than ever before.
US employment by year grew steadily during the 90s, reaching its peak in April of 2000 when 64.7% of the labor force was employed.
This marked a new milestone in US history, and ironically, April is the month that holds both the highest and lowest rates of employment recorded in the past 70 years.
7. The average rate of employment in the US for the past 70 years is 59.24%.
From the available employment data throughout the years, dating from 1950 to 2020, US citizens experienced both rocky and steady years of employment.
The population has steadily been increasing, and with it, the workforce grew exponentially. From 62.2 million workers in 1950, the number hit an all-time high of 163.54 in 2019.
Employment averaged 59.24% for the past 70 years, and today stands at 61.4%, with around 159.8 million total workers.
Now, let’s switch our focus toward state numbers and see how they fare:
Employment Stats by State
8. 11 states have an unemployment rate above 10%.
According to the latest data, the current unemployment rate stands at 10.2%, with 11 states reporting a double-digit percentage of unemployment.
Massachusetts is the most notable of all, holding the highest unemployment rate at the moment, with 16.1% of the workforce being unemployed.
9. There were 19.4 million workers in California in 2019.
California is the third state in the US in terms of land area but ranks first when it comes to the total number of workers that reside there, according to these employment statistics.
Namely, in 2019 there were about 19.4 million workers, and 96% of them were employed. Even though these figures are extraordinary, California is still not the best place to work in, as there are 37 states with better employment numbers.
10. There are only 282,000 employed people in Wyoming.
The state of Wyoming records the lowest number of employed people of all states in America. However, this number doesn’t tell the complete truth. Wyoming has a population of 578,759, and according to the latest United States jobs statistics, it has a labor force of about 292,000.
This means that only 10,000 working people are without a job, signaling a 3.6% unemployment rate and a labor force participation rate of 65.2%.
11. Kentucky and Nebraska have seen the lowest change in employment over a 12-month period.
The following numbers may portray a bit of a worrying situation. According to the US employment statistics by year data, employment has decreased in all states over the course of 12 months. This data takes into account changes occurring from June 2019 to June 2020.
Kentucky and Nebraska are the two states that fare the best, recording only 1.4% and 1.7% decrease in employment, respectively, while all others record massive changes.
12. Massachusetts and New York record the highest decrease in employment over a 12-month period.
On the other end, employment rates for citizens in these two states are gloomy, as a lot of Massachusetts and New York workers have been left without a job from the period between June 2019 and June 2020.
Namely, the unemployment rate in Massachusetts went from 2.9% in June 2019 to 16.1% in June 2020, amassing a shocking 13.2% increase. New York doesn’t fare any better, though, as the rate went from 3.9% to 15.9% over the same period, marking a 12% increase in unemployment.
13. El Centro and Yuma are the two states with the highest unemployment rate.
US unemployment statistics by state indicate that the El Centro metropolitan area is the leading area in terms of unemployment.
This Californian county recorded a striking 18.3% unemployment in 2019. Yuma comes close in 2nd place, as this Arizonian county had an unemployment rate of 16.4% in 2019.
These two metro areas are the only ones with a two-digit unemployment percentage.
14. Midland, Texas, records a 42.5% risk of job loss due to the worldwide pandemic.
According to employment statistics by industry, leisure and hospitality, transportation, employment services, travel arrangements, and mining are the industries that were identified as most at risk.
Furthermore, the same data suggests that Texans living in Midland are most at risk of losing their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
42.5% of the workforce, which is less than half, is working in the aforementioned identified industries that are currently at an increased risk from this global problem.
Employment Statistics by Race
15. At the end of 2019, African American workers had an unemployment rate of 5.7%.
With a 5.7% rate in Q4 of 2019, African American workers had the highest unemployment figures of all races.
The District of Columbia marks the highest rates for African American workers, at 11.2%, followed closely by Mississippi and Pennsylvania, with 9.1% and 8.1%, respectively.
16. Asian workers record the lowest unemployment rates, with only 2.7% unemployed.
According to the same 2019 US employment data, Asian workers had the lowest rates of unemployment.
As for the other groups, Hispanic workers and white workers recorded 4.1% and 3% unemployment at the end of 2019, respectively.
17. With 64.1%, Mexican Americans have the highest rates of employment.
Taking a look at the data available on ethnic groups and employment, we can see that Mexican Americans have the highest rates in terms of employment to population ratio.
Employment statistics portray a very positive trend for this particular group. Namely, their rates fare better than the US average of 60.8%.
18. Black vs. white unemployment has hit the widest mark in over 5 years, standing currently at 5.3%.
The gap between black and white workers’ employment continues to increase, as reports indicate it peaked in June of 2020.
As of June, the unemployment rate for African Americans stands at 15.4%, while it stands at 10.1% for white workers. Employment demographics show this is the most significant gap for the last 5 years, or about 5.3% difference between unemployment for black and white workers.
19. With 58.7%, African American workers have the lowest rates of employment of all ethnic groups.
Due to the current pandemic situation, the US economy ended its record-long expansion run in which it created numerous job opportunities, especially for African Americans and other minorities.
With that in mind, job losses were felt the hardest among African American workers. The current employment rate suggesting that this ethnic group has the lowest rates of employment.
A 58.7% employment to population ratio among African Americans puts them below the US average of 60.8%.
20. Hispanic women earn the lowest median wages of $33,540 per year.
(Source: National Partnership)
Latinas who hold a full-time, round the year job are subject to one of the lowest wages available. Their hourly wage amounts to $16, as the latest US employment statistics indicate.
Furthermore, they receive just 54 cents for every dollar that non-Hispanic white men earn. This is a huge gap that needs to be eliminated to allow Hispanic women a chance at an equally normal life as any other human in America.
21. Black women are paid 62 cents for every dollar that is paid to white men.
(Source: National Partnership)
African American women fare slightly better than Hispanic women. According to these black employment statistics, the median annual wage for a full-time, round the year job in the US for black women amounts to $38,036, which is almost half less than what white, non-Hispanic men earn.
The difference of $23,540 per year is staggering, to say the least, as black women also have identical issues as Hispanic women.
Now, let’s take a look at the current trends in employment, and also see what the future holds in America:
Current Employment Statistics 2020
22. 80.32% of the working population aged 25 to 54 were employed in Q1 of 2020.
The start of 2020 was promising for Americans. Numerous job opportunities became available, many people got immediate employment, and the rate of unemployment decreased heavily.
However, just a couple of months in, the worldwide pandemic was felt in the states as well. The economy suffered as many small businesses closed temporarily, and even permanently, laying off countless people in the process.
Small business employment statistics indicate that in Q2, about 69.66% of the working population between the ages of 25 and 54 were employed, which signals a huge decrease in such a short time.
23. As of July 2020, there are 121.2 million full-time employees in the US.
The number of full-time employees has decreased in July of 2020, compared to the same period from the year before.
Employment statistics in the US show that, currently, 121.2 million Americans are working as full-time employees, while in July of 2019, there were 132.15 million full-time workers, a difference of 10.95 million in just 12 months.
24. The number of part-time employees currently stands at 23.29 million.
Contrastingly, the number of part-time workers seem to have decreased in the past 12 months as well.
In July of 2019, there were 26.23 million part-time employees in the US. Today, 23.29 million Americans are working part-time, marking a decrease of about 2.94 million.
Even though these part time vs full time employment statistics suggest a huge difference over a 12-month period, it’s good to point out that the current pandemic situation is one of the main reasons behind this negative trend.
25. 12.46 million Australians have a job in July of 2020.
From a labor force consisting of 13.47 million, a whopping 12.46 million Australians are currently out of employment. This leaves a low unemployment rate of 7.4% in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.
According to the Australian employment data report, a little over 1 million Australians are not working at the moment.
26. Europe recorded the highest employment rate of the last 15 years, with 73.1%.
Before the worldwide pandemic struck out, life in Europe was blooming. 73.1% of the working population between the ages of 20 and 64 have a job in what would appear to be the highest rate of employment over the last 15 years.
However, employment trends quickly shifted in late March and early April of 2020, as the pandemic situation worsened, creating extensive labor market disparities across all EU member states.
27. The current rate of employment in Canada stands at 57.3%.
(Source: Stat Can)
With 17.85 million Canadians being employed, things are slowly beginning to normalize across Canada. Right now, the employment rate stands at 57.3%, improving steadily after the lowest-ever recorded in April of 2020 when only 52.1% of the labor force hung onto their jobs.
According to this employment data sheet, only 10.9% of the working population are currently left without a job.
28. The total number of employees on nonfarm payrolls is estimated to be about 139.6 million.
Total nonfarm payroll consists of every US worker in the economy, excluding private household employees, farm employees, unpaid volunteers, proprietors, and unincorporated self-employed individuals.
These workers account for approximately 80% of the workforce, and as of July 2020, there are 139.6 million US citizens on a nonfarm payroll.
Employment Stats - The Final Word
No one can dispute the patterns these statistics recognize, and it would be detrimental to ignore these numbers, as both job seekers and employers can benefit by simply following the latest developments and current trends.
With rates of employment increasing at a steady pace, Americans are slowly getting back to their feet and continuing to normalize their lives to the best of their abilities.
Even though we can only speculate what the future holds, judging by the latest figures, job seekers will have the luxury of choosing from a pool of opportunities instead of having trouble getting employment in the first place.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How many jobs are there in the USA?
The latest figures indicate that there are about 143.5 million jobs in the US currently occupied by Americans. 23.29 million of them are part-time workers, while the rest work full-time.
However, it is incredibly difficult to accurately gauge just how many jobs there are across the country. In addition to the number of employed people, there are many companies that have advertised for open positions and a lot of individuals who are searching for a job.
With that in mind, we cannot estimate the exact number of jobs in the US, other than the ones that are currently occupied.
What are current employment statistics?
The CES is a program designed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to produce a detailed analysis and estimates of all industry nonfarm employment, workers’ earnings, and accumulated hours.
CES National Estimates are tasked to generate data for the whole nation. At the same time, CES State and Metro Area are responsible for the estimates of all 50 states, including more than 450 metropolitan areas and divisions.
This program has so far published vital data about employment and earnings, allowing for a thorough analysis of the employment structure and the latest trends.
What is the percentage of employment?
As of July 2020, the percentage of employment in the US stands at 55.1%. About 143.5 million Americans are currently being employed, and only 16.3 million Americans are without a job.
The labor force participation rate is 61.4%, with US workers clocking in, on average, 34.5 hours per week.
Wages have decreased by 1.5% over the last few months after hitting its peak in April, and workers currently earn about $24.63 per hour. The minimum wage, though, remains unchanged for the past 11 years at $7.25 per hour.
Which country has the highest employment rate?
According to the latest data available on global rates of employment, the United States’ southern neighbor records the highest percentages. The current employment percentage in Mexico stands at 97.06%.
Here’s a list of the top 10 countries with the highest employment around the globe:
- Mexico – 97.06%
- Sri Lanka – 94.3%
- Venezuela – 93.65%
- Mauritius – 92.92%
- Jamaica – 92.7%
- Peru – 83.6%
- Greece – 83.06%
- Philippines – 82.32%
- Switzerland – 80.4%
- Netherlands – 78.4%
What is the current US unemployment rate?
The current rate of unemployment across the United States, as of July 2020, stands at 10.2%. This is an improvement from the previous month when the rate stood at 11.1%, as the BLS reported an increase in total nonfarm payroll employment of about 1.8 million jobs.
There are about 16.3 million Americans without a job, which is an improvement from the 17.7 million jobless Americans in June of 2020.
Over the past three months, we’ve noticed a continuous increase in employment. The latest employment statistics indicate this trend will continue, as businesses are slowly but surely adjusting to the current pandemic situation.