Employment Situation in February: State-Level Analysis


Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 33 states in February compared to the previous month while 16 states and the District of Columbia reported job losses. Montana reported no change in employment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 379,000 in February, following an increase of 117,000 jobs in January.

On a month-over-month basis, employment data was strong in California, which added 141,000 jobs, followed by Michigan (+63,500) and Washington (+28,700). Sixteen states and the District of Columbia lost a total of 96,600 jobs, the largest decline was reported in Texas which lost 27,500 jobs due to severe winter weather. In percentage terms, Michigan employment increased by 1.6% while Oklahoma reported a 0.7% decline between January and February.

Year-over-year, ending in February, 9.5 million jobs were lost across the country as employment decreased in every state—except Idaho (+7,900) and Utah (+5,800)—and the District of Columbia. The range of job losses spanned 10,300 lost in Montana to 1.7 million lost in California. In percentage terms, Hawaii reported the steepest decline at 17.8%, while Montana lost 2.1% of nonfarm payroll compared to a year ago. Nonfarm payroll employment in Idaho (+1.1%) and Utah (+0.45%) increased during this time.

Across the 48 states which reported construction sector jobs data—which includes both residential as well as non-residential construction—ten states reported an increase in February compared to January, while 34 states lost construction sector jobs. Four states reported no change. Utah added 3,000 construction jobs while New York lost 15,600. Overall, the construction industry lost 61,000 jobs in February compared to the previous month due to severe winter weather in many southern states. In percentage terms, Utah increased by 2.5% while Iowa reported a decline of 6.9% between January and February.

Year-over-year, the U.S. lost 308,000 construction sector jobs, which is a 4.0% decrease compared to the February 2020 level. Utah added 6,700 jobs, which was the largest gain of any state, while Texas lost 56,400 jobs, which was the largest decline. In percentage terms, Idaho had the highest annual growth rate in the construction sector by 8.2%. Over this period, Louisiana reported the largest decline at 14.9%.

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