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  • Writer's pictureNick Andriacchi

February 2021 Jobs Report

In Summary....

Temporary help gained 45,300 jobs in December. The monthly winning streak extends to 10 and the penetration rate of total non-farm employment is 1.90%, close to its pre-COVID level of 1.93%.

The JOLTS report released on March 11th showed that U.S. job openings increased in January and layoffs fell, offering more evidence the labor market is stronger than it may seem.

In all, there were still 8.5 million fewer Americans holding jobs in February compared with a year ago, a total that fell only slightly from January. The size of the labor force increased by 50,000 but the labor force participation rate held steady at 61.4%, down 1.9 percentage points from a year ago.

Staffers of all disciplines all note shortages of candidates to fill open orders. This dynamic may exist to parents that still have childcare duties, fear of getting Covid in the workplace, enhanced unemployment benefits among other reasons.

Analysis of the February Employment Report

· Prime age labor force participation rate (ages 25-54) was flat this month at 81.1%. While the number has improved since April, it is still down by 1.8% year-over-year, the last month before the pandemic started.

· The overall labor force participation held steady to 61.4%. This is 1.9% below last February level.

· Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 7 cents to $30.01.

· The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was down .3 to 34.6 hours in January. In manufacturing, the workweek was down .2 to 40.2 hours, and overtime unchanged at 3.2 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was down .2 to 34.0 hours.

· APD reported that 117,000 jobs were created in February

JOLTS Report March 11, 2021

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, rose to 6.9 million on the last day of January from 6.8 million in December, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The job openings rate increased to 4.6% from 4.5% in December.

Job Openings

· On the last business day of January, the number and rate of job openings were little changed at 6.9 million and 4.6 percent, respectively. Job openings increased in state and local government education (+56,000); educational services (+21,000); and mining and logging (+10,000).

· Over the year, the number of job openings (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed in January. Job openings decreased in a number of industries over the year with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services; state and local government, excluding education; and arts, entertainment, and recreation. The job openings level increased over the year in nondurable goods manufacturing; durable goods manufacturing; and mining and logging. The number of job openings decreased in the West region.

· This data continues to suggest and confirms what staffers have been saying, they have more open job orders than candidates.


· In January, the number and rate of hires were little changed at 5.3 million and 3.7 percent, respectively. Hires increased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+59,000) and in educational services (+25,000). Hires decreased in federal government (-15,000).


· Total separations include quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.

· In January, the number of total separations decreased to 5.3 million (-275,000), and the total separations rate was little changed at 3.7 percent. The total separations level decreased in accommodation and food services (-242,000); educational services (-38,000); and state and local government education (-27,000).

Net Change In Employment

· Over the 12 months ending in January, hires totaled 72.4 million and separations totaled 81.2 million, yielding a net employment loss of 8.8 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Source: ADP, BLS

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