Sluggish Job Growth in November: State-Level Analysis


Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 32 states in November compared to the previous month. The largest increase came from Texas, which added 61,000 jobs during this time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide total nonfarm payroll employment increased just 245,000 over the month of November, following an increase of 610,000 jobs in October.

Month-over-month (MoM), total nonfarm employment was sluggish across all regions, gaining a total of 245,000 or an increase of 0.2% from October to November. During this time, total nonfarm employment increased by 0.3% in the Northeast, 0.4% in the South and in the West, and declined by 0.1% in the Midwest.

Year-over-year (YoY), total nonfarm employment fell by 9.2 million jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis (SA), or -6.1% from November 2019 to November 2020. During this time, total nonfarm employment decreased across all the regions.  The Northeast declined by 8.5%, the West region by 6.2%, the Midwest by 6.0%, and the South by 4.0%.

On a month-over-month basis, employment data was strong in Texas adding 61,000 jobs, followed by California (+57,100) and New York (+29,500). The other 29 states added 293,400 jobs during this time. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia lost a total of 83,400 jobs. New Hampshire reported no change during this time. In percentage terms, Texas increased by 0.5% while Illinois reported a decline of 0.4% between October and November.

Year-over-year, ending in November, except for Idaho (+3,600 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 200 jobs lost in Utah to 1.3 million job lost in California. In percentage terms, Hawaii reported the steepest decline at 15.2% while Alabama lost 2.1% of nonfarm payroll compared to a year ago. Idaho increased nonfarm payroll employment by 0.5% and Utah reported no change during this time.

In the construction sector specifically, which includes both residential and non-residential construction, across the 48 states which reported construction sector jobs data, 29 states reported an increase in November compared to October, while 17 states lost construction sector jobs. Maine and Nebraska reported no change. Texas added 7,500 construction jobs while California lost 5,800 construction sector jobs during this time. Overall, the construction industry added 27,000 jobs in November compared to the previous month.  In percentage terms, Utah increased by 2.6% while Nevada reported a decline of 3.9% between October and November.

Year-over-year, the U.S lost 179,000 construction sector jobs, which is a 2.4% decrease compared to November 2019. Virginia added 12,200 jobs, which was the largest gains of any state, while Texas lost 32,700 jobs, which was the largest decline of any state. In percentage terms, Missouri had the highest annual growth rate in construction sector by 7.8%. Over this period, Vermont reported the largest decline at 26.0%.

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