30+ Interesting U.S Employment Statistics (Updated 2019)
By Raj Vardhman | November 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

30+ Interesting Employment Statistics (Updated 2020)

The employment rate is one of the most important economic indicators of the current economic state of certain countries. This article will analyze some of the most interesting employment statistics, primarily focusing on the USA.

Due to its importance, the employment rate should be closely analyzed so that a state can plan and implement the right strategies for increasing the same or stopping the decline caused by some economic, social, or political factors. A federal agency specialized in finding and analyzing data and statistics about employment is called the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS for short.

They conduct monthly surveys that provide data regarding employment, earnings, and hour trends based on payroll records from non-farming employers collected from around 142,000 business and government agencies, which represent almost 700,000 worksites throughout the United States. Providing information for this survey is voluntary under federal law. It is called a current employment statistics survey or CES. 

Unemployment Facts and Stats (updated 2019)

  • 3.7% was the rate of employment in September 2019
  • Between 215,000 and 223,000 new jobs were created (on average) each month in 2018
  • There were 39,000 more jobs in healthcare in September 2019
  • There are 27,000 people working part-time in September 2019

Top Employment Trends and Statistics

1) 61% was the average employment rate for September

The employment rate for September was 61%, a slight increase compared to August. Historically speaking, in the last 70 years, the employment rate in the USA maintained an average of 59.35%, which shows us that the current employment trends in the USA are better than the average but still far from the record of 64.70% made in April 2000, according to the current employment statistics survey. 

It is quite reassuring to know that the employment rate is currently stable, particularly due to the many challenges the USA economy faces. Evidently, the current economy has found a way to overcome this challenge and establish a good foothold for the future and increase the employment rate in the process.

Overall, the employment rate measures the number of people that are currently employed, presented as a percentage of the total working-age population. 

2) The average employment rate for 2018 was 0.6% lower

According to the employment statistics for 2018, the employment rate was at 60.4%, which is 0.6% less than the current average. Still, it is higher than what has been the national average for the past 70 years and has been steadily increasing for the past seven years as well. According to some estimates, this increase is expected to end and begin a steady decline by 2020.

3) 45% of small businesses struggled to find qualified candidates for job openings 

Unfortunately, this is not a simple equation where the number of job openings is subtracted by the number of people without a job. According to employment trends from 2018, 45% of small businesses struggled to find qualified candidates for job openings. Also, 60% of all employers had job openings that stayed vacant for 12 weeks or longer, which cost them around $800,000 annually in lost productivity and advertising fees. There were 600,000 more job openings in 2018 (6.2 million in total) than in 2017.

4) Between 172–174 million expected to be without a job in 2020

US employment trends, of 2019, show that the number of unemployed people is estimated to rise from the current 172 million to 174 million by the year 2020 due to the expansion of the labor market. 

5) 11.8% of young people are unemployed globally

The participation of young workers (ages 15–24) has been steadily decreasing for the last couple of decades, as a result of more young people entering further education. In 2017, there was a 10% drop in young workers compared to the year 2000. According to data for global employment trends, 11.8% of young people are unemployed globally, which is higher than any other age bracket.

6) 82.5% of teenagers enroll in secondary education

People with basic education are twice as likely to be unemployed compared to those with more advanced degrees. Still, it is comforting to know that, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO), 82.5% of teenagers are currently enrolled in some form of secondary education.

7) 51,700 more jobs for general sales assistants over the last five years

Current employment trends show that the occupation that saw the highest increase in the last five years was that of the general sales assistants (51,700), followed by aged and disabled carers (49,800), and registered nurses. Hence, it seems that medical care will have a steady increase for years to come. Still, we ought to be patient and we should come back and revisit the data in the near future.

8) 16% more jobs for health and medical insurers since 2016

Employment trends in the insurance industry, from 2016 to 2019, show that health and medical expense insurers had the biggest employment gains this year — an increase of 16% (an additional 75,000 total employees). Likewise, saving institutions had the biggest decline in employee counts — a decrease of 13.6% (17,200 fewer total employees).

As we can see, the numbers vary greatly across different industries. This can be explained by the changing needs and habits of western civilization.

Global employment trends show that there has been an increase in the number of people hired for a vast majority of industries. Yet, there are still some markets that suffer from candidate shortages; namely, candidates for bilingual professions and candidates with specialist digital skills.

Employment Stats & Gender Facts

9) Only 48% of women are in the labor force

Unfortunately, there are also trends that are somewhat negative. Globally, only 48% of women are in the labor force, whereas for men the number is as high as 75%. Moreover, 61% of the world’s workforce, nearly 2 billion people, are informally employed, and over 20% of people under the age of 25 are currently not employed, in education, or in training.

10) Following the big economic crisis, 59.3% was the average employment rate in 2009 

If we go back in time, historical employment statistics from the previous three decades will show that the employment rate is usually rather steady.

However, huge events can influence the employment rate; for instance, the general chaos following the 9/11 attacks decreased the employment rate by almost 3% during this period, up until 2003.

Now, even though the employment rate was still around the national average, there was a noticeable decrease.

Yet another great example of this is the big economic crisis of 2009 which caused the employment rate to drop to 59.3%; a significant drop from 62.2%, back in 2008, and, as such, is the lowest rate in the last three decades.

Employment statistics by year show that, for the past decade, the employment rate had a steady increase; except for the year 2011 when it decreased by 0.1% when the employment rate was at 58.5% (back in 2010).

In 2017, the employment rate was at 60.1% and it was the first time since 2008, that the employment rate was higher than 60%; it hasn’t gone under that threshold ever since. 

11) Between 215,000–223,000 new jobs created on average each month in 2018

Job growth statistics by year for the last decade show a steady increase in the number of jobs created.

Although there were some years when, on average, the number of jobs created was somewhat lower, the general direction of the trend is going upwards.

In 2011, there were, on average, 173,000 new jobs being created each month, which is the lowest score for the 2010s. The highest job growth was back in 2014 when, on average, there were 251,000 new jobs being created each month.

Last year there were between 215,000–223,000 new jobs being created on a monthly basis (on average), whereas the trend for this year shows a significant drop to only 158,000 new jobs being created each month.

12) 3.6% is the current unemployment rate

According to the current employment statistics for 2019, nonfarm employment increased by 136,000 in September. This is a significant increase, seeing how there were 45,000 more jobs created than predicted in July or August. The current unemployment rate sits at 3.6% and has remained as such for the past couple of years; not counting the first few months of each year when the unemployment rate is usually at around 4%. 

Therefore, this latest employment data shows promise; it has been the lowest unemployment rate since 1969 and, according to all estimates, it is expected to continue its decline. A lot of work has been dedicated these last few years to economic revival after an extremely turbulent period but the work is far from over. 

Bureau of labor statistics has a federal program called Occupational employment statistics, or OES for short. This program calculates employment and wage estimates for more than 800 occupations based on data collected by the OES semiannual survey. 

The survey includes employment counts, occupations, and wages from more than 4,200 Washington state employers. With the insight gained from this data, they can estimate the employment rate and wage ratios for specific occupations for the previous year. What’s more, the occupations are divided into several categories where each category represents a different branch within a given industry.

13) 39,000 more jobs opportunities in healthcare in September 2019

If we focus more on individual occupational employment statistics, data collected in September 2019 shows an increase in the number of jobs in the health care department (an additional 39,000 jobs), professional and business services sector (an additional 34,000 jobs), government agencies (an additional 22,000 jobs), and the public transportation industry (an additional 16,000 jobs).

14) 11,000 fewer jobs in retail trade

The negative trend continues in the retail trade sector where there were 11,000 fewer jobs than in August (this year); this is a steady decline since retail reached its peak back in January 2017, losing over 197,000 jobs ever since.

Current employment statistics show that over the course of a few months, there has been very little change or drop in jobs in other major sectors including construction, mining, finance, information, manufacturing, and leisure and hospitality industries.

15) 170,000 new jobs per month expected in 2020

By the end of this year, it is expected that 165,000 new jobs, on average, will be created each month, according to the analysts’ expectations. In 2020, this number is expected to rise to an average of 170,000 new jobs per month, according to econometric models. As we can see, the estimated growth is expected to continue, though at a much slower pace. 

These employment stats are extremely important as they can prepare us for the future of the job market and its ensuing employment trends by providing us with useful information about the current economic and industrial situation. They can tell us which industries are growing and showing increased potential for growth and additional job opportunities (in the near future), as well as which industries are on a downward spiral and should be avoided or considered with extreme caution. 

16) 13 million workers in the manufacturing sector

According to US employment statistics for 2019, there are fewer than 13 million workers in the manufacturing sector, making roughly 11% of the country’s total output. 

Another interesting finding is that the 12-month growth rate of wages fell to 2.9%, compared to 3.2% in August of the same year. From this, we can tell that the current employment flow has lost some of its momentum going forward.

17) 13 million workers in the manufacturing sector

According to US employment statistics for 2019, there are fewer than 13 million workers in the manufacturing sector, making roughly 11% of the country’s total output. 

Another interesting finding is that the 12-month growth rate of wages fell to 2.9%, compared to 3.2% in August of the same year. From this, we can tell that the current employment flow has lost some of its momentum going forward.

18) 13 million workers in the manufacturing sector

According to US employment statistics for 2019, there are fewer than 13 million workers in the manufacturing sector, making roughly 11% of the country’s total output. 

Another interesting finding is that the 12-month growth rate of wages fell to 2.9%, compared to 3.2% in August of the same year. From this, we can tell that the current employment flow has lost some of its momentum going forward.

19) 153.5 million people expected to be employed by May 2020

By May 2020, an estimated 153.5 million people are expected to be employed. For the past 5 years, this number has been steadily increasing; last year during this same period there were around 148 million people employed; at the start of 2016, this number was more around 143 million; and there were around 140 million employed at the beginning of 2014. A promising rise in employment numbers indeed.

20) 5.8 million people currently unemployed

During the past month, the number of unemployed people decreased by 275,000, currently sitting at around 5.8 million in total. Although this is by no means a low figure, it is, in fact, the lowest unemployment total since 1969. Apart from the unemployed, the number of people that lost their jobs and the number of people who engage in temporary work has also declined by 304,000, reaching 2.6 million. However, the number of unemployed individuals without any prior work experience rose from 103,000 to 677,000, making this an employment statistic worth keeping an eye on. 

Part-Time & Full Time Employment Rates

21) Around 27,000 people frequently engage in part-time work as of September 2019

In September 2019, there were around 27,000 individuals that frequently engaged in part-time work, making it the most constant statistic regarding employment so far. This number could be used as a benchmark for the entire previous decade. Even in the past, this number has always remained constant; despite being somewhat smaller in the ‘90s and ‘00s (between 23,000–25,000)

22) 9.1% more people worked part-time in 2009 compared to 2008

The last significant surge concerning part-time jobs was back in 2009 after the great economic crisis, rising to a strong 9.1% (an increase from 25,000 to 27,400).

US employment statistics clearly show that up until 2009 there was an increase in involuntary part-time employees (people who wanted to work full-time but were not given the opportunity) but, contrary to popular belief, that number remained consistent ever since.

Even though working part-time is rarely a longtime solution, these employees at least have a better chance of finding new work opportunities and providing for their families today, according to US employment data.

Besides part-time employees, another large category worthy of note is that of the self-employed. A self-employed worker is defined as an individual who works primarily for themselves, including unpaid family workers which are especially important in the farming and retail trade sectors.

On the other hand, everyone working in the confines of a corporate enterprise is considered to be an employee.

Self-employment can either be a survival strategy or, more likely, evidence of the individual’s desire to be one’s own boss and have the opportunity to create something of their own.

23) 6.3% of people were self-employed in 2018

According to employment statistics, in 2018, 6.3% of employees were self-employed, mostly men (65%). Newer trends suggest that higher education loses its significance as an important factor for starting your own business.

24) 24 million Americans wish to leave traditional employment by 2021

Data from the Self-Employment in America Report 2019 shows that some 24 million Americans wish to leave traditional employment and be self-employed by 2021; this decision, however, is not as easy as it may seem at first glance due to the increasing unpredictability of the market.

25) 82.2% of highly educated individuals aged 25–54 were employed in 2018

Although higher education is losing its importance for self-employment, according to employment statistics it is still of significance for regular employment. In 2018, 82.2% of highly educated people aged 25–54 were employed which is significantly higher than the national average, regardless of the level of education. Nevertheless, there is still work to be done, seeing how there is a whole list of countries with a much higher percentage of employees with higher education than in the USA. 

26) 163.8 million people will be looking for work in 2024

If we shift our focus to the future, for a moment, several employment prediction statistics from 2019  indicate that by the year 2024 there will be around 163.8 million people looking for work, as the overall share of women workers increases to 47.2%. Moreover, tomorrow’s workforce will be even more diverse than the one we have today. Diversity will span through social constructs such as gender, culture, religion, ethnicity, and perhaps even some other characteristics that we have yet to discover.

27) 65% of children now entering primary school will have a job that doesn’t yet exist 

According to the employment data report, 65% of children now entering primary schools will have a job that doesn’t even exist yet. 

28) A 6% increase in the number of coworking spaces expected by 2022

As previously mentioned, flexible workplaces are the latest trend and will remain so in the future (of employment). Coworking spaces are one of the best examples of this — they offer working environments that inspire collaboration, innovation, and productivity. Up until 2022, the number of coworking spaces is expected to increase by 6% (annually) inside the US, according to employment statistics for 2019

The Bureau of Labour Statistics collects and analyzes extensive streams of data in order to define employment projections for the future. Data is collected from each preceding year and the projections are made for up to 10 years into the future. It presents detailed employment demographics for nearly 300 industries and more than 800 occupations. Self-employed workers are not on this list in order to get a more accurate number.

29) A 63.3% increase in the number of solar photovoltaic installers by 2028

According to their detailed occupation employment database, by the year 2028, occupations that will see the biggest increase in employment include solar photovoltaic installers (63.3%), wind turbine service technicians (56.9%), personal care aides (36.4%), and home health aides (36.6%), indicating that renewable energy sources will be a top priority in the future and that there will be a gradual transition from hospital to home and personal health care.

30) A 36.7% decrease in the number of parking enforcement workers by 2028

On the other hand, automatization will hit occupations like word processors and typists (a decrease of 33.8%) and parking enforcement workers (a decrease of 36.7%). 


Employment statistics are extremely important and incredibly useful in defining the current economic climate as well as future employment trends that will dictate the structure of the labor force in the years to come. With the insight provided by these findings, relevant economic and social actions can be implemented to increase the employment rate as much as possible to prepare future employees and employers for new challenges; to direct the currently unemployed towards possible job opportunities; and to inform the government on how best to keep the current steady rise of the employment rate.

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