Employment Situation in May: State-Level Analysis


Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 33 states and the District of Columbia in May compared to the previous month while 16 states lost jobs. North Dakota remained unchanged.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nationwide total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 559,000 in May, following an upwardly revised increase of 278,000 jobs in April.

On a month-over-month basis, employment data was strong in California, which added 104,500 jobs, followed by Florida (+39,900) and Texas (+34,400). Sixteen states lost a total of 50,100 jobs, the largest decline was reported in Ohio which lost 14,800 jobs.  In percentage terms, New Mexico employment increased by 1.1% while Wyoming reported a 1.4% decline between April and May.

Year-over-year ending in April, 11.9 million jobs have been recovered marking the economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic induced recession. All the states and District of Columbia added jobs compared to a year ago. The range of job gains spanned 1.2 million in California to 9,700 jobs added in Wyoming. In percentage terms, Nevada reported the highest increase by 19.2%, while the District of Columbia increased by 3.1% compared to a year ago.

Across the 48 states which reported construction sector jobs data—which includes both residential as well as non-residential construction— eight states reported an increase in May compared to April, while 38 states lost construction sector jobs. Two states reported no change. Florida added 3,700 construction jobs while New York lost 5,900. Overall, the construction industry lost 20,000 jobs in May compared to the previous month. In percentage terms, Oklahoma increased by 1.3% while Vermont reported a decline of 3.9% between April and May.

Year-over-year, construction sector jobs in the U.S. increased by 419,000, which is a 6.0% increase compared to the May 2020 level. New York added 64,800 jobs, which was the largest gain of any state, while Colorado lost 4,200 jobs, which was the largest decline. In percentage terms, Massachusetts had the highest annual growth rate in the construction sector by 25.0%. Over this period, Wyoming reported the largest decline at 7.6%.

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