Slower Jobs Gains in October: State-Level Analysis

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Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 45 states in October compared to the previous month. The largest increase came from California, which added 145,500 jobs during this time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 638,000 over the month of October, following an increase of 672,000 jobs in September.

Month-over-month (MoM), total nonfarm employment was robust across all regions, gaining a total of 638,000 or an increase of 0.5% from September to October. During this time, total nonfarm employment increased by 0.2% in the Northeast, 0.3% in the Midwest, 0.7% in the South and 0.8% in the West.

Year-over-year (YoY), total nonfarm employment fell by 9.2 million jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis (SA), or -6.1% from October 2019 to October 2020. During this time, total nonfarm employment decreased across all the regions.  The Northeast declined by 8.7%, the West region by 6.3%, the Midwest by 5.9%, and the South by 4.2%.

On a month-over-month basis, employment data was strong in California adding 145,500 jobs, followed by Texas (+118,100) and Florida (+51,600). The other 42 states added 474,800 jobs during this time. Five states and the District of Columbia lost a total of 26,900 jobs. In percentage terms, Alaska increased by 2.9% while New Hampshire reported a decline of 0.6% between September and October.

Year-over-year, ending in October, except for Idaho (+300 jobs), all other states and the District of Columbia decreased in employment, totaling 9.2 million jobs lost across the country. The range of job losses span 9,000 jobs lost in Utah to 1.4 million job lost in California. In percentage terms, Hawaii reported the steepest decline at 17.3% while Utah lost 0.6% of nonfarm payroll compared to a year ago.

In the construction sector specifically, which includes both residential and non-residential construction, across the 48 states which reported construction sector jobs data, 36 states reported an increase in October compared to September, while 10 states lost construction sector jobs. South Dakota and Utah reported no change. California added 26,300 construction jobs while Maryland lost 2,600 construction sector jobs during this time. Overall, the construction industry added 84,000 jobs in October compared to the previous month.  In percentage terms, Alaska increased by 10.1% while Maryland reported a decline of 1.5% between September and October.

Year-over-year, the U.S lost 196,000 construction sector jobs, which is a 2.6% decrease compared to October 2019. Missouri added 9,600 jobs, which was the largest gains of any state, while New York lost 32,100 jobs, which was the largest decline of any state. In percentage terms, South Dakota had the highest annual growth rate in construction sector by 12.2%. Over this period, Vermont reported the largest decline at 24.8%.



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