The American economy appeared to be bouncing back throughout the summer of 2021, with more than a million jobs created in July alone. But the data that emerged in the weeks and months that followed clearly shows that a complete return to normalcy remains elusively out of reach. 

Job market statistics tell a story of an economy that’s still struggling to recover from the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Top government officials are blaming the spread of Covid’s delta variant for the sluggish labor market recovery, acknowledging that the rehabilitation process could drag on into 2023. 

That said, the country has come a long way from the unemployment peak of more than 23 million workers in the early weeks of the pandemic. August 2021 clocked the lowest unemployment rate since March 2020. And while many people who were working before the pandemic still don’t have jobs, some sectors are doing much better than others and hiring more people.

Interesting Job Market Statistics (Editor's Picks)

  • The US unemployment rate declined to 5.2% in August 2021, the lowest level since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • More than 350,000 people filed initial jobless claims in mid-September 2021.
  • The percentage of Americans working from home went from 22% in 2019 to 42% in 2020.
  • Demand for financial advisors grew by 249% between April 2021 and May 2021. 
  • The number of available jobs in the US  is projected to grow to 165.4 million by 2030. 
  • The average hourly earnings of all employees in the private sector rose from $29.47 in August 2020 to $30.73 in August 2021.
  • Healthcare is projected to add 3.3 million jobs by 2030, the highest number of all industry sectors.
  • Psychiatry is among the occupations with the highest median annual pay of $208,000.    

Important Job Market Stats 

1. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% in August 2021.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Following the pandemic-induced economic meltdown, the hopeful spring of 2021 gave way to a summer that saw the unemployment rate reduced to its lowest level since March 2020. By August, a little over 8 million Americans remained out of work. The sharpest drop in the unemployment rate came in July when more than a million jobs were added. However, by the end of the third week of September, more than 350,000 Americans filed an initial jobless claim. 

2. The lowest unemployment rate was recorded among those aged 55 and older.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

According to US workforce statistics, more seasoned workers are doing better than their younger counterparts. In August 2021, the unemployment rate among workers who are 55 and over was only 3.9%. That’s a notable contrast from those between the ages of 18 and 19 who reported an 11% unemployment rate. The situation is even more dire among the 16 to 17 age group where unemployment stands at 11.6%. This can be explained by the fact that sectors, where young people work (bars, restaurants, the food industry, etc.), were hardest hit by coronavirus restrictions.

3. Since April 2020, employment has risen by more than 17 million jobs. 

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job market statistics show employment in the US rose by 235,000 in August 2021. It grew by a whopping 1.1 million jobs in July and 962,000 in June. But even with the millions of new jobs added, the total number is still lower than the peak of February 2020. Some of the largest contributors to employment include professional and business services, the transportation and warehousing sector, manufacturing, as well as education and health services.

4. Surprisingly, healthcare employment was down by 44,000 jobs in Q1 2021, compared to the end of 2020.


Even though the healthcare industry added 11,500 jobs in March 2021 and 25,000 jobs the month before, US job market statistics show that the sector dropped more than 80,000 jobs in January. As such, healthcare employment was down 3.1% in Q1 2021 compared to February the previous year. 

So how can the number of jobs in healthcare be decreasing during the biggest health crisis in decades? Well, as hospitals became overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, non-emergency and routine medical procedures were either delayed or canceled. Meanwhile, out of concern of contracting the virus, many people simply chose to go without medical care.

5. The unemployment rate of 10.2% in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector is the highest in the US. 


When it comes to unemployment by sector, the latest data shows that mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction workers have been hard hit by the latest recession. Leisure and hospitality are in second place with a 9.1% unemployment rate. At the other end of the spectrum are government and financial sector workers with unemployment rates of 3.6% and 3.2%, respectively. 

6. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%, the lowest level since 1969.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Historical employment statistics show that the labor market was on a 50-year high at the end of 2019. Total employment reached an impressive 158.6 million, while the employment-to- population ratio rose to 61%. The total number of unemployed Americans was 5.8 million or 3.5% by the end of Q4 2019.    

7. Demand for financial advisors grew by 249% between April 2021 and May 2021.


Data compiled by LinkedIn reveals that the most needed jobs in America include retail sales specialists and store associates. But demand for these in-person positions is still lower than for financial advisors. This can be explained by the fact that many people are experiencing financial anxieties amid concerns about retirement plans and mortgage payments.

8. In May 2020, the number of entry-level job openings on Glassdoor dropped by 68%.


The pandemic paved the way for the worst job market for college graduates in living memory.  The availability of grad-related job openings dropped dramatically during the first half of 2020. In this unprecedented economic environment, most of the new graduates, or seven out of 10, were applying for jobs at tech companies, with Amazon and Microsoft attracting the highest number of applicants.    

9. Psychiatry is among the occupations with the highest median pay of $208,000 per year.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Government data on salary rates by occupation shows that psychiatrists weren’t the only ones making the big bucks in 2020. Surgeons, physicians, gynecologists, and orthodontists also had a median pay of $208,000 per year or $100 per hour. Chief executives are further down the table with $185,950 per year, while marketing managers made $142,170. 

10. Education and healthcare services posted 1.36 million job openings in October 2020.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

There were a total of 6.5 million job openings posted in October 2020. The biggest job markets were education and healthcare services, with 1.36 million job openings. They were followed by healthcare and social assistance (1.23 million) and trade and transportation (1.1 million). Trade and transportation sectors experienced growth because of the need to store and transport items purchased online.

With so much economic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on emerging trends. The economic crisis doesn’t affect all industries and occupations the same way, and, as always, there are winners and losers. Having a good understanding of the situation might help to tip the scale in your favor.

11. Women could lose up to $600,000 in lifetime income due to the economic impact of the pandemic. 


An economist with the Center for American Progress, Michael Madowitz, conducted extensive data analysis for Newsweek and concluded that the pandemic will have long-term consequences for women in the workplace. More than 4.5 million women have left the job market in the USA since the start of the pandemic, and when they finally return to work, they’ll likely earn far less in the future. According to Madowitz, women who were earning a median wage of $47,299 before the pandemic could lose $250,000 in income over their lifetime if they return to work by 2022. If they aren’t back until 2024, those losses could rise to $600,000.

12. Job market statistics show that 42% of the US labor force worked remotely in June 2020.


Research conducted by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research shows that many Americans are working remotely. This trend isn’t new, but it was dramatically accelerated during the coronavirus pandemic. Of those working remotely, only 33.4% said they were efficient, while 30.7% said they couldn’t do their job from home. 

13. Total employment is projected to grow to 165.4 million by 2030.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

The Labor Department’s job growth projections point to a brighter future with an expected increase of 11.9 million jobs in just under 10 years. This will be the product of an annual growth rate of 0.7% - a figure that was recently revised upwards. Interestingly, it’s the healthcare sector that’s projected to add the highest number of jobs (3.3 million). 

14. The retail sector is projected to lose 586,800 jobs in less than a decade.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

When it comes to job growth by sector, the outlook is especially grim for traditional brick-and-mortar retail establishments. With demand declining and eCommerce surging in popularity, this sector is expected to shed more than half a million jobs by 2030. That’s the highest job loss projection across all sectors.   

15. With a 60.7% increase, wind turbine technician will be the fastest-growing occupation by 2029.

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

According to the US Department of Labor, the most popular careers in the future will be wind turbine technicians, nurse practitioners, and solar photovoltaic installers. This list is hardly surprising, as some of these professions are directly linked to the rapidly growing renewable energy sector. Nurse practitioners will be needed to take care of the aging population.


The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live and work. The most apparent trend is a boom in eCommerce. This, of course, had a positive effect on the transportation and warehousing industries. Telemedicine and online education also noted remarkable growth. No one can say for sure if these changes are more of a permanent fixture or if things will one day return to the way they were pre-pandemic. 

That's why it's important to keep an eye on the economy and job market trends. With some sectors of the economy struggling to survive and others seeing immense profits, properly analyzed information could mean the difference between having a great job or just dreaming about it.