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Job Growth by Year in the United States

by Darko Jacimovic

Job creation has been the predominant theme for every incumbent and aspiring president of the United States in recent years. How have they fared as per their promises of job creation? Has there been any substantial job growth by year in the US? 

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 59.7% of Americans are employed. So what happens to the rest of the employable population? What’s the current unemployment rate? 

Without mincing words, we go head-on into the article by trying to answer these questions and give you more vital information as far as the US labor market is concerned.

US Job Growth Statistics (Editor's Choice)

  • 2.64 million jobs were created in the US in 2018.
  • There will be 3.5 million shortage of skilled workers in the US industries between 2015 and 2025.
  • The American industrial production adds up to $2 trillion annually. 
  • There will be fewer people in the job market because the people born between 1947-1961 are retiring.
  • There have been 30.5% fewer jobs in 2019, compared to job growth in 2018.
  • A paltry number of just 20,000 jobs were created in February 2019.
  • Unemployment rate steadied at 3.6% in May 2019, the lowest in 49 years.
  • The unemployment rate has dropped to a level below 4% for the first time in 10 years. 
  • Trump has created close to 5 million jobs as of February 2019.
  • Obama’s presidency (2009-2017) added 8.9 million jobs to the US economy.

General Job Creation Statistics in the US

Job growth by year - Job seeking

1. 2.64 million jobs were created in the US in 2018.

According to data from the White House, the total number of jobs created in the last month of 2018 was around 312,000. In addition, around 284,000 manufacturing jobs were created during the same year. If you were wondering about the total number of created jobs last year, that is — how many jobs were created in 2018 — MSNBC reports that the number is approximately 2.64 million across all industries.

2. The US added 164,000 new jobs in April 2018.

The monthly sample survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which does not include the agricultural sector, indicates that 164,000 urban jobs were generated in April 2018. This was the period when the US unemployment rate sunk the lowest since 2000.

3. The private sector gained 102,000 more jobs in June 2019.

The private sector gained 102,000 jobs in June 2019, according to the monthly job growth chart published by payroll processor ADP. It went up from the revised 41,000 figures in the month before.

4. There will be 3.5 million shortage of skilled workers in the US industries between 2015 and 2025.

From the companies’ point of view, a major structural problem is looming — the lack of skilled labor. Nearly 2.7 million jobs will be opened because of the retirement of baby boomers, according to data on manufacturing trends and job growth by year figures from Deloitte.

The available jobs, however, will be hard-to-fill jobs in areas that require new specializations, such as autonomously produced goods made with 3D printing and digital manufacturing.

5. The Asian population earns 33.6% more than the African-American population.

Gender and ethnicity can determine the amount earned by workers in the US. While the Asian population earns around $1,021 on average, the African American population earn just $678. Also, while females earn $13 per hour, the males earn $14.96 for the same number of working hours. 

6. The American industrial production adds up to $2 trillion annually. 

According to manufacturing and job growth statistics by year, manufacturing has more than doubled since the Ronald Reagan administration (1980-88). Today, in Trump’s America, it adds up to $2 trillion a year. Productivity increased by 47%  between 2002 and 2015. 

Deloitte’s executive survey shows that the US is expected to be more competitive than China in the coming years because of rising wages in China. All this is due to investments in automation, the great villain of industrial employment.

7. There have been 30.5% fewer jobs in 2019, compared to 2018.

Midway into 2019, it’s becoming clear what the job growth percentage in 2019 will be by the end of the year. And it looks a bit gloomy. New job creations have dropped from an average monthly figure of 223,000 in 2018 to just 155,000 so far in 2019. That’s a drop of about 30.5%.

8. A paltry number of just 20,000 jobs were created in February 2019.

According to MSNBC’s US job growth by month graph, the US had the worst job growth recorded in months. Before the reports came in, most economists had projected around 180,000 new jobs. 

The result, however, was far below expectations. Just 11% of that figure was met. Economic analysts still haven’t been able to figure out what is the main reason for such a devastating result.

9. An average of 170,000 new jobs were created in the Q1 of 2019.

Data shows that job growth by month is declining in 2019 when compared to what was achieved in 2018. The highest figure for Q1 this year was 196,000, recorded in March, while the number for the same period in 2018 was 223,000.

10. There will be fewer people in the job market because the people born between 1947-1961 are retiring.

Fewer people are looking for work because the so-called baby boomers generation (born in the post-WWII euphoria between 1947-1961) are retiring. Since then, the population growth rate in the US has been declining. That is why fewer people will be left in the job market.

Unemployment Rate Statistics

Job growth by year - Job search

The unemployment rate is the percentage of unemployed residents in relation to the total number of the economically active population. An individual who has been actively searching for a job over the past four weeks and can immediately take up one is considered an unemployed person. 

In addition, whether or not a person receives social assistance does not affect the unemployment rate, and hence, it doesn’t take away anything much from the impressive figures of job growth in the US. 

The unemployment rate is one of the main indicators of the labor market and the economic condition of the country. It is not a predictive indicator. However, its increase or decrease is caused by changes in the economic situation.

11. Unemployment rate steadied at 3.6% in May 2019, the lowest in 49 years.

At 3.6% in May this year, the unemployment rate in the United States maintained the figure of the previous month, meeting expectations from the market, according to the Trading Economics report. 

However, during this period, there was an increase of 64,000 in the number of unemployed people, taking the number to 5.9 million. Meanwhile, 113,000 new jobs were added to the economy, taking the total number to 156.8 million.

12. The unemployment rate has unexpectedly increased to 3.7% in 2019.

The unemployment rate is now 3.7% as of June 2019, ending the feat of 3.6% sustained in recent months. This number was the lowest in 49 years, according to the latest figures from the job growth statistics. 

13. Employable teenagers represent the highest number of out-of-job people in the US with 12.7%.

Employment statistics by demographics show that 12.7% of the unemployed people are teenagers, 6.0% are blacks, and 4.3% are Hispanics. Whites and adult men and women represent 3.3% of the unemployed population each.

14. The unemployment rate rose to 4.0% in June 2018.

In June 2018, the US unemployment rate gained 0.2% and went up to 4.0%. During this time, over 6.6 million people were unemployed. A month earlier, the rate was just 3.8%, according to the 2018 US job growth figures published by BLS.

However, the figures show a general improvement compared to a year ago when the number stood at 4.3%.

15. The unemployment rate has dropped to a level below 4% for the first time in 10 years.

Before the technological bubble burst in the early 2000s, there were only two long periods of the unemployment rate below 4% — during the Korean and Vietnam wars. The job growth by year has steadily improved since then.

Interestingly enough, during these periods, a combination of strong economic growth and thousands of young people, many without university degrees, made unemployment virtually disappear.

16. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% in September 2018.

The United States unemployment rate dropped to 3.7%, which was the lowest in 50 years, according to the stats on job growth by month in 2018. However, only 134,000 more jobs were added, a number which was below any expectations.

17. The lowest unemployment rate in history was 1.2%, while the highest ever was over 14%.

As you can guess, there is a large gap between the highest and lowest unemployment percentage since this data is tracked. According to the Balance and its data and report on employment and unemployment rate by year, the highest unemployment rate was between 1931 and 1940. 

However, in 1944, the number went as low as 1.2%. Exactly 42 years later, the figure went up and reached 10.8%.

18. In 2009, the unemployment rate reached 9.9%.

The United States lost more than 8 million jobs during the Great Recession. During this period, the unemployment rate was 9.9%. Similarly, the highest global unemployment rate was 10%. 

Employment Numbers by Year in the US

Job growth by year - Hiring

19. There were 27.6 million part-time employees as of 2017.

According to data from Statista, the recession saw a drop in the figures of full-time-employed people in the US. This resulted in a sharp spike in the number of people employed on a part-time basis.

20. The US job market is on a spree of at least 2 million annual new job additions since 2011.

After recovering from the 2008 recession, which saw the US economy losing more than 8 million jobs in 2009, the US market’s job creation by year figures indicate consistency. 

Starting from 2011, there has been an increase of at least 2 million jobs a year till December 2018. In fact, the US has gained 16 million new jobs from 2009 till 2018.

21. 20 million more people have been employed on a full-time basis since 1991.

Almost 20 million more people have gained full-time employment from the start of 1991 till present, according to annual job growth statistics from Statista. 

There were only 98.67 million people who were employed on a full-time basis by 1990, and that number gained an increase of 18 million as of 2013. The recession, however, slowed down the progress, causing a small increase of 2 million in six years.

22. 59.7% of the US population was employed in 2016.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics job growth chart, in 2016, of the 253 million civilian noninstitutional US population, around 151 million people were employed. This number accounts for 59.7% of the US population. Also, there was an unemployment rate of 4.7% recorded in the same year.

23. The US economy created 148,000 new jobs in December 2017.

December 2017 was a promising month for people looking for a job. According to unemployment rate stats from the BLS, in 2017’s final month, the United States economy created 148,000 jobs. This makes the total number of jobs created in 2017 add up to 2.11 million. 

Unfortunately, such a performance was hard to replicate in 2018. In fact, the unemployment rate dipped to 4.1% this year.

Let’s check now which administration was the most successful in the new Millennium when it comes to creating new job vacancies.

Which President Created the Most Jobs in the New Millennium?

Bill Clinton’s 8-year presidency (1993-2001) was by far the biggest job creation era in US history. With 18.6 million jobs in eight years, America averaged around 2.3 million jobs a year. However, that has been hard to replicate by subsequent presidents — George Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. 

Bush could only muster about 31% of Clinton’s feat with just 5.8 million new job opportunities. On the other hand, coming in after the recession, Obama job creation stats show that he improved on Bush’s record, taking it to 8.9 million in eight years. 

It’s left to be seen if Trump would beat that number if he eventually gets the nod for the second term. Nevertheless, one thing is clear — he has managed to eclipse half of Obama’s record in less than a complete term, with 4.9 million job creation as of 2019. 

Let’s make a more detailed comparison to see which president was the most successful in creating new jobs. We will check now whether Barack Obama had a better tenure in terms of job creation or if Trump is already trumping his predecessor just halfway into his first tenure. 

We will see how both fared according to the facts, figures, and statistics on a monthly and annual basis, and how much support these have added to the American economy in recent times.

Obama Job Creation Stats

Job growth by year - Job interview

24. In Obama’s second year (2010), only 1.05 million jobs were created. 

After the recession was over, a little over a million jobs (88,000 per month) were gained in 2010 under Obama’s presidency. That was the last time job creation in the United States fell below the annual 2 million mark. 

That’s understandable to some point, however, since the recession, which broke loose under George W. Bush, had just ended.

25. 252,000 jobs per month (3 million annually) were added to the US economy in 2014 under Obama. 

According to job growth statistics by year from the IBTimes, the United States added around 252,000 jobs in the last month of 2014, reducing the rate of unemployment by 0.2%. That number had surpassed the expectations of economists as the growth of 240,000 was projected. 

The month before, a whopping 353,000 new jobs were generated. However, the unemployment rate ended at 5.6%.

26. Obama’s presidency (2009-2017) added 8.9 million jobs to the US economy. 

According to The Balance’s job growth stats, while the likes of Bill Clinton and Franklin Roosevelt are known as the champions of job creation in the US for having the biggest numbers and percentage increase, respectively, Obama’s term isn’t far off the ladder. 

Coming at number six in the ranking of the best job-creating presidents, Obama ensured that 152.3 million people had jobs at the end of his tenure.

Trump Job Creation Stats

Job growth by year US

27. The unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in May 2018 under Trump, the lowest since 2000.

Six months after coming down from December 2017 rate of 4.1%, unemployment in the United States fell in April 2018 to 3.9%. It was the lowest rate since December 2000, during President Bill Clinton’s second term.

28. The number of unemployed people went down to 6.346 million in 2018.

Job growth under Trump has been impressive. The number of unemployed people fell from 6.585 million in March 2018 to 6.346 million in April of the same year — a difference of 239,000.

The creation of vacancies was joined by another factor — a smaller number of people looking for a job. However, these people stopped looking for jobs not because they believed they would not find it — which is known as the so-called “discouragement.” When the rate of discouragement is included, the unemployment rate fell from 8% to 7.8%.

29. The economically active population shrank to 62.8% in 2018. 

According to the monthly employment growth statistics from Forbes, the so-called economically active population is shrinking. It went from 62.9% of the total population in March 2018 to 62.8% in April of the same year. This was a reduction of 236,000 people.

This alone contributes to the unemployment rate falling if all other conditions are maintained.

30. Trump gave the Chinese company Foxconn a $3 billion tax break to establish in Wisconsin and employ 13,000 people. 

The Chinese company, which employs 1 million people in China, manufactures most of the computers consumed throughout the world. It announced that it would build a factory in Wisconsin. 

The impressive new plant, which will employ 13,000 people, received $3 billion in tax breaks and state subsidies out of a total investment of $10 billion. In other words, each job will cost $231 million to the state coffers.

31. Trump has created close to 5 million jobs as of February 2019.

How many jobs has Trump created? This question has generated enough controversies in the media. First, we’ll hear from the horse’s mouth. 

On February 2019, during an address on the state of the nation, the POTUS had stated unequivocally that his administration had shattered expectations by generating as much as 5.3 million jobs. Well, fact-checkers were quick to put him in place. 

Shortly after, a US job growth by year graph published by the Balance put the number at just 4.7 million. Also, the Washington Post quickly followed up by countering his claims and lowering the actual number at just 4.9 million. 

32. The US economy created 170,000 jobs per month in 2018 under President Donald Trump. 

So far, Trump’s administration is doing well when it comes to creating new job opportunities. But if you wonder how many jobs that were created in 2018 were a result of Trump’s influence, the answer is simple — the American economy has created around 170,000 jobs per month, or close to this number as it was the case in April of that year.

However, the population between 20 and 64 years grows at the rate of 50,000 a month. With the lack of skilled labor and the aging of the population, production cannot increase much. 

That said, as the data from the job growth have shown, the injection of money into the economy caused by tax cuts is not coming at a good time. The greatest fear at the moment is the associated risk of overheating the economy by making such moves.

33. There’s a 714% higher increase in job vacancies in the manufacturing industry under Trump than under Obama.

This is quite an interesting fact. Data on the private sector job creation by year shows a great improvement in the number of new job opportunities in the manufacturing industry, with 312,000 new jobs added only in December 2018. Indeed, such a number truly shattered the expectations of many economic analysts.

Final Thoughts

Job growth by year US - Jobs

At this moment, there are nearly 5 million new jobs realized by Donald Trump’s administration, as has been revealed in the job growth by year statistics. Despite being just halfway into the first term, his tenure could turn out to be the biggest job creator in the history of America. 

He had promised 25 million new jobs over a period of 10 years during pre-election campaigns. However, with 1/5 of that number already in the bag in just two years, it looks even less impossible. 

For the employable American residents, there is an increasing chance of landing that job in one of the Fortune 500 companies if they acquire skills demanded by the 21st century’s increasingly-digital labor market.



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