Change in Employment by Industry

This graph displays the seasonally adjusted employment change by industry in March 2020 in thousands. These numbers are calculated by taking the difference between the previous and current months total to jobs per industry to then determine how employment has shifted within a specific month. This chart is a good indicator to determine which industries are contracting or expanding within a set period.

The total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 701,000 in March, while the unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from 3.5% in the previous month. The sector that took the most damage was leisure and hospitality, which lost 459,000 jobs in March. Health services & education, professional & business services, and construction also took a smaller hit each, respectively losing, 76,000, 52,000, and 29,000 jobs. Government-related sectors such as federal and local positions grew by 18,000 and 8,000 jobs, with another 2,000 job increase in information services.

Most industries were impacted negatively in March, some more than others, and this is largely attributed to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The number of unemployed persons rose by 1.4 million to 7.1 million in March. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the efforts to contain the virus from spreading. The government-ordered shutdown has forced many businesses to temporarily cease operations. Employment in leisure and hospitality took the most damage, losing 459,000 jobs, more than half the total nonfarm payroll, mainly in hotels, food services, and drinking places. This 1-month decline has virtually offset the gains over the past 2 years in this industry. It is easy to see that these numbers will only continue to increase, thus boosting the unemployment rate, as layoffs continue to grow, and we begin to get hit with the full effect of the shutdown this coming April.

Employment by Industry

April 3, 2020