employment statistics
By Raj Vardhman | January 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

37 Mind-Blowing Employment Statistics [2021]

This article will analyze some of the most telling employment statistics, primarily focusing on the US and its current economic reality.

With the second-quarter reports in 2020 showing a massive decline in employment numbers, it wasn’t too long before the businesses adapted to the situation and started bouncing back. And so did the employment rates. 

However, if there was ever a time to stray from making bold financial predictions, it’s 2021—so this time, we’ll stick to the confirmed data we’ve gathered from trustworthy sources.

Vital US Employment Statistics To Know In 2021 (Editor’s Choice)

 

 

Most Captivating Employment Stats That Reveal the Current State of the US Economy

employment statistics 4

To understand a country’s economy, it’s important to observe the full picture. As much as employment rates are an important indicator of a financial state, there are plenty of reasons why the economy thrives or fails. Here are some figures you should take into consideration when it comes to the state of employment:

1. US employment rate has risen to 57.4% in October 2020—a 0.8 percentage point growth since the previous month. 

(Trading Economics)

While the pandemic has sent countries worldwide into an economic crisis, the situation seems to be slowly changing for the better. 

The numbers still haven’t reached January’s 61.2% employment rate, but the economy is steadily inching towards numbers similar to the pre-pandemic crisis.

2. Employment turnover statistics show that 25% of hires leave the job within the first year. 

(Impact Plus)

Additionally, almost 90% of employees decide whether they want to stay in the company in the first six months.

That career advancement opportunities are essential to workers is perfectly painted by the fact that 72% of them will switch jobs for this reason.

3. Astounding 91% of DACA recipients younger than 25 have a job.

(Small Business Committee)

There are approximately 800,000 Dreamers in the US right now. 

While a striking majority of those younger than 25 are working—the older generation DACA recipients have even higher employment rates at 93%.

DACA employment statistics have shown that the average yearly income of the Dreamers is $36,322.

4. The youth enrolled in high school have an employment rate of 20%.

(Child Trends) (Statista) 

The unemployment rate of teenagers aged 16–19 was 13.9% in October 2020. 

It’s a significant shift from April this year, when the numbers showed 31.9% of unemployed youth—not at all surprising, considering the pandemic’s impact on the overall economics. 

The teenage employment rate has dropped by 0.1% between 2009–2014, according to statistics.

Interestingly, the teenage employment rate is over one percentage point higher at the moment than it was in October 2019 (12.3%).

5. 93.78% of 2018 law school graduates from Duke University got long-term jobs in the field. 

(Law School I)

Duke University has the highest percentage of graduates employed in the field of law, per the latest law school employment statistics. Conversely, the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico has the lowest rate of graduates who managed to find work in their chosen field—0.73%.

However, a total of twelve law schools can boast, with 85% of their graduates attaining full-time employment. Interestingly, Yale University doesn’t even reach the top 50, with a 75% graduate employment rate.

The average annual salary of lawyers in the US is $139,880.

6. College graduate employment statistics disclosed an alarming 13.2% unemployment rate in June of this year. 

(Statista)

That is an almost 10 percentage points jump from March when the rate was 3.9%. 

Of course, the main culprit—as for the most struggles people have this year—is the pandemic. 

The good news is that, as of September, the unemployment rate percentage has dropped significantly and currently stands at 9.1%.

What Employment Statistics by Race Show

employment statistics 2

Image by Ohmydearlife

Much like in every other sphere of public life, the racial disparity is apparent in the US economic system. While the country has come a long way, the statistics disclosed in the next section show how much more there is to do.

7. At 17.4%, the unemployment rates are the highest among African American workers.  

(EPI)

There was a significant drop in the number of working African Americans since COVID-19 started shutting down businesses across the country. 

Black employment statistics showcase that, while the pre-pandemic unemployment rates were also the highest within this demographic, it was notably lower at 6.3%. 

8. The unemployment rates among Latino workers in the US have grown by 7% in the last year. 

(BLS) 

The Hispanic workers have been severely affected by the pandemic. In 13 states, the percentage of unemployment has risen by a minimum of 10 percentage points. 

The situation is the gravest in the state of Nevada, where over 30% of Latino workers are currently out of jobs, according to the latest Hispanic employment statistics.

9. The state with the highest unemployment rate for Caucasians is Hawaii, —19.1%.

(EPI)

Similarly, the same state is where many Asians are without a job at the moment, as the unemployment rate for them surged from 2.4% in the first quarter of the year to an astounding 21.9% in the second.

Before the pandemic-caused recession, the white unemployment rate was the highest in West Virginia at 5%. 

Revealing Employment Data by Industry

It’s clear that some industries are historically more deeply rooted in the US economy than others. This is particularly visible from the comprehensive, industry-specific numbers we have gathered below: 

10. The US coal industry employed a total of 52,714 workers in 2019.

(Statista)

A more significant chunk of that number—31,881 people—are the underground coal miners.

The industry itself has suffered immensely over the last decade. In fact, per coal industry employment statistics, coal mining had 89,736 workers in 2012. 

11. Oil and gas industry workers earn $118,903 per year on average.

(Data USA)

This makes it the fourth highest-paying field of work in the US. 

BLS has reported that the industry employed approximately 145,000 people in 2018, contradicted by ACS’s own estimate of 127,000 workers. 

The bottom line is that the oil and gas industry has seen a 20% growth in employment numbers in just one year, statistics show. 

12. Over 3.7 million people were working in the fast-food industry in 2018. 

(Statista)

The data found in this report shows that the number of workers in fast food has been steady throughout the years. 

The total wages for fast food industry employees were predicted to reach 51 billion dollars in the US.

In 2004 the figures indicated 3.39 million employees in that particular industry, concluding that fast food employment statistics haven’t shown any significant shift. 

13. Manufacturing industry employs 8.51% of the total workforce in the US.

(NAM)

Per the latest numbers and figures, there are a total of 249,962 manufacturing firms in the country. 

The economic output from those quarter-of-million firms is $2,334.60 billion—11.39% of the entire US economy.

When it comes to manufacturing employment, the statistics indicate that most people work in the pharmaceutical and medicine industry. 

14. There are 66,018 workers in the iron and steel industry in the US this year. 

(Ibis World)

The number of US steel industry employees has declined by 7.1% per year in the period between 2015–2020. 

As is the case with the majority of manufacturing businesses in 2020, employment in iron and steel has dropped by 16.4 percentage points.

According to the US steel industry employment statistics, an iron and steel manufacturing business has an average of 194.2 employees.

15. Automotive manufacturing workers amounted to a bit over 900,000 in August 25020. 

(Statista)

The figure is down almost one million from the previous year. This trend is expected to continue, as the demand doesn’t show any signs of picking up.

As a result of a nationwide lockdown and closing of most businesses, the industry has produced between 2–2.5 million vehicles less. 

Auto industry employment statistics show additional 1.925 billion workers in the dealership sector. 

16. 39% of all jobs in the renewable energy industry come from China.

(IRENA)

Asian countries, in general, are responsible for creating 60% of all jobs in the renewable energy industry. 

Additionally, only 32% of women hold jobs in the industry. Most of those employment arrangements are in administrative positions, at 45%. Another 35% work in non-STEM jobs, while 28% are engaged in STEM working positions, according to renewable energy employment statistics. 

17. Agriculture industry has contributed $1.109 trillion to the US economy.

(USDA) (BLS)

The share of 0.6% of GDP is contributed by American farms. On-farm employment brought in 2.6 million jobs. 

Food is traditionally one of the most significant expenditures in US households. According to the 2019 report, Americans spent 13% of their overall budget on food—making it the third most lucrative industry, just behind housing and transportation. 

Statistics on employment in agriculture show that over 902,900 people worked in this sector last year. 

18. Video game industry employs 241,389 people in the US.

(Ibis World)

This is one of the few industries that experienced employment growth during 2020—2.3%. However, the rates still dropped compared to the average growth over the last five years, which stands at 5%.

This industry is the 154th largest in the US and the top 8th among Information industries by employment numbers. 

According to employment statistics, businesses in the video game industry have 1.3 workers on average.

19. 44.4% of nonprofit organizations don’t have any employees. 

(Cause IQ)

Despite this being a seemingly high percentage, the sector still employs 22.5 million people, a 14% share of the US’s total workforce. It’s the third most significant sector among the 18 major industries in America, only behind retail and manufacturing.

However, the smallest of those businesses employ only 1.9% of the 22.5 million, per nonprofit employment statistics.

20. There were 346,000 new jobs created in the healthcare sector in 2018 alone.

(Health Leaders)

More than 16 million people work in the healthcare sector, a number that translates into 11% of all jobs in the US economy.

This marks the addition of almost 60,000 employment spots, compared to 2017—including 107,000 jobs in hospitals and 219,000 jobs in ambulatory services, according to healthcare employment statistics. BLS has projected that the healthcare industry will grow by 18% in the period 2016–2026. The growth prediction is due to the aging population, meaning there will be a necessity for healthcare staff. 

The downside is that hospital spendings are expected to increase by 5.5% each year, from $1.3 billion in 2018 to $1.8 billion in 2026.

Key Employment Discrimination Statistics

employment statistics 1

Getting a steady employment arrangement is complicated enough in today’s financial climate, but what does it mean for minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and any other group that regularly face bias in the workplace? Here’s what the latest numbers imply: 

21. There were 916,623 official employment discrimination complaints in the US between 2009–2018.

(Paychex)

As shown by the worrying employment discrimination statistics we’ve uncovered, the state with the most complaints was Alabama—there were 62.2 complaints per 100,000 people there alone. This is followed by Mississippi (60.8) and Arkansas (51.7).

The most common complaints involve racial discrimination. However, those also have the lowest success rate (15%).

22. More than three-fourths of transgender people have been subjected to bias in the workplace.

(Trans Equality)

Additionally, one in four lost their job due to the way they identify.

Those who choose a legal path suffer privacy violations, physical violence, inappropriate sexual advances—transgender employment statistics imply that the reality is even harsher for people of color.

23. People with autism have an employment rate of 58% between high school and their early 20s.

(Drexel)

This makes autistic people the least likely to get a job among their peers. 

For comparison, 95% of people with learning disabilities get their first jobs in that period of their lives. At the same time, those with speech/language impairment find work in 91% of cases. 

According to statistics, autism employment rates are lower than those of people with an intellectual disability—they have 74% chances of getting a job.

24. Formerly incarcerated people have an unemployment rate five times higher than the general public. 

(Prison Policy)

Despite employers claiming they are willing to give former felons opportunities, the numbers tell a different story; having a criminal record reduces the chances of being called back by 50%.

The unemployment rate is at its highest during the first two years after the release—employment statistics show that 30% of the people with a criminal record were out of work within that period.

25. Around 25% of homeless people in the US are employed. 

(Parade)

Some reports indicate that 40–60% of homeless people constantly shift between full-time and part-time employment. 

Washington, D.C., reported that 22% of single homeless people have jobs, while 25% of those who have a family are employed in that district. 

On the other hand, statistics on homeless employment in New York imply that around 70% of 60,000 homeless people in the city are homeless, and 34% of those families include a working adult. 

26. The veterans had an unemployment rate of 3.5% in 2019. 

(BLS)

Male veterans had an even lower unemployment rate at 3%, while their female counterparts had a 3.7% rate in the same period. 

Furthermore, the veterans with a service-related disability had a 4.8% unemployment rate.

There are 284,000 unemployed veterans, and 56% of those are in the group age 25–54, while another 39% were over the age of 55. 

Veteran employment statistics show that veterans aged 18–24 have the lowest unemployment rate at 5%.

27. 79.2% of disabled people aren’t a part of the labor force.

(DOL)

Only 19.3% of persons with a disability have a job. 

When it comes to race and ethnicity, Hispanic workers with disabilities have the highest chance of getting a job (20.5%). African Americans’ employment rate is the lowest at 15.6%. White (19.7%) and Asian (18.9%) disabled workers fall in the middle. 

Employment statistics for people with a disability show that the lack of at least a high school education means the employment-population ratio is only 9.1%.

28. Unemployment rates for foreign-born citizens have dropped from 3.5% to 3.1% in the 2017–2018 timeframe. 

(BLS)

The immigrants are more likely to be employed in the service industry than natives,—22.5%, compared to 16%. Conversely, they are way less expected to get jobs in management, professional, and related occupations (33.9%, with native Americans coming at 42.2%).

Immigrant employment in the US has its issues to this day; statistics imply that a foreign-born worker receives only 85% of a native employee’s earnings for the same job. This means that 28.4 million people—or 17.4 percent of the total workforce—face discrimination in the workplace on the basis of their birthplace.

The unemployment rate for native-born workers also declined in the same period; it dropped from 4 to 3.8 percentage points. 

 

More Eye-Opening Employment Facts and Figures

employment statistics 3

Image by vishnu vijayan 

29. Small businesses generate 64% of all new jobs in the US every year. 

(SBA)

Small companies have an outstanding 99.9% share of all the business in the US. 

Additionally, 47.3% of the entire US workforce is employed in small businesses. Minority-owned small companies are responsible for 8.7 million job posts.

Close to 60 million people—59.9—are employees in one of these companies, per SBA’s 2019 small business employment statistics.

30. The federal government employs around 2 million people.

(Governing)

The number doesn’t include active military members (1.3 million) or the Postal Service employees—there are approximately 600,000 people employed there. Among those 2 million people, 1,837,622 million have permanent, full-time working arrangements. 

California, District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, and Texas are states with the most workers, according to federal government employment statistics.

Surprisingly, most federal employees—about 79%—don’t work in the District of Columbia. 

31. Almost 30% of Americans were self-employed in 2019. 

(Gallup)

Or 28.4%, to be exact. This means that 44 million working Americans were self-employed last year. 

However, it’s important to note that these are pre-pandemic numbers, and the figures look significantly different today.

The same self-employment statistics indicate that the transportation industry showed the most significant growth—taxi services, in particular, experienced a 722% employment growth from 2000–2017.

32. Between 1948–2020, the employment rate was 59.23% on average.

(Trading Economics)

Employment reached an all-time high in April 2000, when an incredible 64.7% of Americans had a job. 

Unsurprisingly, due to pandemic-caused economic crisis, the lowest rate was recorded exactly 20 years later—in April this year, when employment stood at 51.3 percentage points. 

Luckily, we seem to be inching closer to those historical employment statistics, as the data shows a 57.4% rate at the moment. 

33. The number of part-time employees peaked in January 2010, when 20.1% of the US workforce worked less than 35 hours per week. 

(Advisor Perspectives)

A significant majority (88%) of part-time employees in 2019 voluntarily choose this type of working arrangement, with 22% doing so due to school or training obligations.

When part-time vs. full-time employment statistics were first collected in 1968, only 13.5% of US workers were part-timers.

The percentage mostly grew over time—however, it dropped during the last ten years, as it currently stands at 17.5%.

34. There were 76,852,000 women in the workforce in 2019.

(BLS)

This made close to half of the total number of employees in the US that year—47%.

Simultaneously, 57.4% of all women were active participants in the labor force, compared to 69.2% of men. 

In 2020, male vs. female employment statistics indicate that the number of women in the workforce dropped by 9%, while the number of men has declined by 7.8%.

35. The highest unemployment rate is currently in Hawaii, at 14.3%.

(BLS)

It’s followed by Nevada’s 12% population-unemployment ratio. The states doing the best are Nebraska (3%) and Vermont (3.2%).

In October, the largest decrease in unemployment numbers was recorded in Illinois (-3.6 percentage points). 

Employment statistics by the state show that 47 states and the District of Columbia have suffered increased unemployment rates since October 2019.

36. Employment in the US grew by 12.9 million in the period between 1939–1943.

(BLS)

Most of the growth was due to increases in manufacturing (38%) and governmental (20%) job openings. In that time span, employment rates surged by 3.9% annually.

However, the employment statistics by 1945 showed a drop of 3.7 million jobs. 

Ever since 1939, the job growth was 2.1% on average in America. 

37. Three of the four regions in the US saw a decrease in unemployment in 2019. 

(BLS)

Northeast and South saw a decline in unemployment of 0.3%, while the West decreased its unemployment by 0.2%.

Regarding employment by region, statistics suggest that the South had the best year tackling unemployment—the rates there were only 3.5%.

Additionally, four out of nine geographic divisions recorded growth in employment numbers:

  • East South Central (+0.7%)
  • Mountain (+0.6%)
  • Middle Atlantic (+0.5%)
  • South Atlantic (+0.4%)

The remaining five divisions experienced minimal changes in their employment-population ratio, with West North Central having the highest percentage at 65.8%.

What These Employment Statistics Mean

The economic reality in the majority of countries is far from ideal for the most time, but 2020 brought more concern and uncertainty than even the 2008 economic crisis. 

The good news is that the situation seems to be stabilizing in recent months, so there is room for optimism when it comes to job growth.

However, a plethora of problems remains to be solved: from employment discrimination to raising minimum wages for the working people, as well as saving the declining industries and companies that were once the backbone of the economy.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

With the pandemic affecting economies around the world, the employment rates in 2020 have been particularly volatile—in the US and elsewhere. 

The year started at 61% but suffered an almost 10 percentage points drop by April, when the employment rate was at 51.2%, making it a year low. 

Things started to look up from that point, as people found new ways to keep their businesses up and running despite the crisis. The current percentage of employed people is 57.4%.

The unemployment rate has declined by 0.2 percentage points in the most recent months, as it currently stands at 6.9%.

This means that there are currently 11.06 million Americans without a job, according to the latest figures. 

April was the most challenging month for the US workers, for as many as 23.08 million people didn’t have a job.

The record-high unemployment rate was seen in April this year, just as the pandemic started to take its toll on every aspect of people’s lives. 

It has increased by 10.3% in that month, for a total of 14.7 percentage points. 

Since the recording of this particular metric began in 1948, this was the most significant one-month increase recorded.

Hawaii was hit harder by the pandemic in 2020 than other countries—this was mostly due to its heavy reliance on tourism and hospitality industries, such as restaurants, bars, and hotelier businesses. 

With a 14.3% unemployment rate, Hawaii is closely followed by Nevada (12%). Nevada has similar issues as Hawaii, as most of their employment comes from the tourism sector.

The lowest recorded unemployment rate in US history was reached in 1944 when it was only 1.2%.

The trends indicate an interesting pattern: the unemployment rates were at their lowest during the five wars the US has participated in the last century, with the highest unemployment rates following in the recession that followed after each one of those wars. 

Conversely, the highest unemployment rate in history was 24.9% in 1933, after the stock market crash and during the period of the Great Depression.

The numbers at the start of the second quarter of 2020 seemed to be going in a similarly devastating direction, with the highest unemployment rate reaching 14.7%. However, the situation has been getting better ever since, as the unemployment figures kept declining. 

As of September 2020, close to 206 million people in the US are considered of working age.

The number reflects the age range from 15–64. 

The number of work-ready citizens was at its highest in 2018, with 206.7 million Americans being of working age. Conversely, it was at its lowest in 1977, when only 135 million people in the US were in the 15–64 age category.

Last year’s BLS report claims it’s 41.9. Among the white working force, the median age is slightly higher than the other races and ethnicities, with the figure being 42.7 years old. 

Black workers have a median age of 39.6, while Hispanic Americans are even younger (38.3).

Interestingly, both men and women’s median age was the same—41.9. 

Iceland’s employment rate stands at 89.1% among the age group 25–54, per the last available report. Among the top ten countries, only two aren’t European—Japan and New Zealand.

If we talk about a younger age group of 15–24, Iceland takes the top spot there, with 75.4% of young people being a part of the workforce. 

The US makes the cut in the top ten here: Americans take ninth place with 51.2% of young adults working.

Three out of the top four countries by this metric are located in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa. Occupied territories of Palestine are, unsurprisingly, in this company. 

Lesotho has the highest unemployment rate at 28.2%, topping the list in front of Eswatini (26.5%), occupied Palestine (26.4%), and Mozambique (24.8%), according to the latest employment statistics.

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