Slower Jobs Gains in September: State-Level Analysis


Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 41 states in September compared to the previous month. The largest increase came from New York, which added 109,300 jobs during this time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 661,000 over the month of September, following an increase of 1.5 million jobs in August.

Month-over-month (MoM), total nonfarm employment was robust across all regions gaining a total of 661,000 or an increase of 0.5% from August to September. During this time, total nonfarm employment increased by 1.0% in the Northeast, 0.4% in the South and the West, and by 0.3% in the Midwest.

Year-over-year (YoY), total nonfarm employment fell by 9.6 million jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis (SA), or -6.4% from September 2019 to September 2020. During this time, total nonfarm employment decreased across all the regions.  The Northeast declined by 9.1%, the West region by 7.0%, the Midwest by 6.4%, and the South by 4.8%. In August, the year-over-year job losses were 10.2 million on a seasonally adjusted basis.

On a month-over-month basis, employment data was strong in New York adding 109,300 jobs, followed by California (+96,000) and New Jersey (+60,200). The other 39 states added 568,900 jobs during this time. Nine states and the District of Columbia lost a total of 52,900 jobs. In percentage terms, New Jersey increased by 1.6% while Hawaii reported a decline of 2.0% between August and September.


Year-over-year, ending in September, all the states and the District of Columbia decreased in employment, totaling 9.6 million jobs lost across the country. The range of job losses span 5,700 jobs lost in Idaho to 1.5 million job lost in California. In percentage terms, Hawaii reported the steepest decline at 18.4% while Idaho lost 0.7% 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, 31 states reported an increase in September compared to August, while 16 states lost construction sector jobs. Arkansas reported no change. New York added 5,300 construction jobs while Illinois lost 3,000 construction sector jobs during this time. Overall, the construction industry added 26,000 jobs in September compared to the previous month.  In percentage terms, Vermont increased by 4.7% while Iowa reported a decline of 3.6% between August and September.

Year-over-year, the U.S lost 279,000 construction sector jobs which is a 3.7% decrease compared to September 2019. Utah added 6,700 jobs, which was the largest gains of any state while California lost 50,100 jobs, which was the largest decline of any state. In percentage terms, South Dakota had the highest annual growth rate in construction sector by 11.3%. Over this period, Vermont reported the largest decline at 27.0%.

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