Where are all of the jobs? These sectors hired the most workers in January
U.S. job growth resumed in January after a one-month decline, as a slew of new hires in the professional and business service sector offset losses in other parts of the nation’s pandemic-stricken economy.
The Labor Department said in its monthly payroll report, released Friday, that employment rose by 49,000 last month, a lackluster start to the new year as COVID-19 and restrictions implemented to curb its spread continued to weigh on businesses. The unemployment rate edged down to 6.3%.
The bulk of the job growth took place in professional and business services, which rose by 97,000. Temporary help service accounting, which added 81,000 jobs last month, accounted for the biggest gains.
Job growth also occurred in management and technical consulting services, up 16,000, computer systems design and related services, up 11,000, and scientific research and development services, up 10,000.
The government also contributed to job growth, adding 43,000 new positions in January. State government rose by 31,000 and local government increased by 36,000, the Labor Department said. Employment in the federal government dropped by 24,000
But the economy still saw losses in other pockets more closely affected by the pandemic: Hospitality and leisure, the sector hit hardest by lockdown measures, shed 61,000 jobs in January, with 19,400 stemming from restaurants and bars. The gambling and recreation industry shed 26,900 jobs, while hotels, resorts and other accommodation services lost 18,300
Still, the job losses are far less severe than they were in the early days of the pandemic, when employment in leisure and hospitality plummeted by 8.2. million. The industry employs 3.9 million fewer Americans than it did in February, before the crisis began.
“Though we gained jobs in January after a December loss, this is not a we’ve-turned-the-corner report,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. “We especially shouldn’t take solace that the unemployment rate fell dramatically given that’s mainly because more Americans dropped out of the labor force.”
The health care and social assistance sector also struggled last month, losing close to 41,000 jobs. The losses occurred in nursing and residential care facilities (-31,000), home health care services (-13,000) and hospitals (-2,100).
Since February, health care employment has fallen by 542,000.