Some are hot, some are very cold.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.
In terms of employment, some industries are red hot, some are slowing, some are dealing with layoffs now after a huge surge in hiring recently, and some are in long-term decline. A declining trend over the years can stem from a structural change, such as changes in demand, or automation, or the shift of retail sales from brick-and-mortar retailers to ecommerce, which replaces typical retail employees (so they decline) with employees in warehousing, transportation, and various technology fields (so they gain).
Earlier today, we discussed overall job growth, the plunge in part-time workers, the self-employed, multiple jobholders, and the surging hourly wages of nonsupervisory employees (here), based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now we’re going to look at employment in major industry categories in the private sector and in government.
The private sector.
Construction – all types of construction, from powerplants to single-family housing:
- Total employment: 8.0 million
- 1-month growth: +23,000
- 3-month growth: +66,000
Manufacturing: After leveling off in recent months from the post-pandemic boom, employment in October got hit by the strikes in the auto and auto-parts sector, which lost 33,000 jobs in October, “largely” due to the strikes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Total employment: 13.0 million
- 1-month growth: -35,000
- 3-month growth: -23,000
Mining and Logging:
- Total employment: 646,000
- 1-month growth: +1,000
- 3-month growth: +2,000
Professional and business services, the largest sector by employment, includes Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services; Management of Companies and Enterprises; Administrative and Support, and Waste Management and Remediation Services.
Some of the tech and social media companies are included, others are in “Information” (below) or in other categories.
- Total employment: 23.0 million
- 1-month growth: +15,000
- 3-month growth: +40,000
“Information” is a small sector that includes web search portals, data processing, data transmission, information services, software publishing, motion picture and sound recording, broadcasting including over the Internet, and telecommunications. Some of the tech and social media companies with big layoff announcements are included here.
The sector has been losing jobs since the peak in late 2022 after the blistering hiring boom during the pandemic. Employment in the sector remains way above the pre-pandemic levels and is roughly where it had been during the peak of the dotcom boom.
Some of Alphabet’s operations are in this category. The company announced huge layoffs in January for its Google division. I discussed its actual headcount, including a chart of its headcount — rose in Q1, fell in Q2 but only by a portion of the layoff announcement, then rose again in Q3 — here.
- Total employment: 3.03 million
- 1-month growth: -9,000
- 3-month growth: -35,000
Healthcare and social assistance:
- Total employment: 21.7 million
- 1-month growth: +77,000
- 3-month growth: +243,000
Retail trade includes workers at brick-and-mortar retail stores – malls, auto dealers, grocery stores, gas stations, etc. – and other retail locations such as markets. It does not include the tech-related jobs of ecommerce operations, and it does not include drivers and warehouse employees. A big portion of this sector has come under heavy pressure from ecommerce operations:
- Total employment: 15.5 million
- 1-month growth: +1,000
- 3-month growth: +8,000
Leisure and hospitality – restaurants, lodging, resorts, etc. – is almost back to pre-pandemic levels. This sector has had a hard time hiring, as working conditions are often tough, including split shifts and weekend and evening work, and pay can be lousy.
- Total employment: 16.7 million
- 1-month growth: +19,000
- 3-month growth: +101,000
Financial activities include finance and insurance plus real estate (renting, leasing, buying, selling, and management).
- Total employment: 9.2 million
- 1-month growth: -2,000
- 3-month growth: +1,000
Transportation and Warehousing:
- Total employment: 6.7 million
- 1-month growth: -12,000
- 3-month growth: -27,000
- Total employment: 6.1 million
- 1-month growth: +9,000
- 3-month growth: +28,000
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation includes spectator sports, performing arts, amusement, gambling, recreation, museums, historical sites, and similar:
- Total employment: 2.5 million
- 1-month growth: +20,000
- 3-month growth: +45,000
The gubbermints, oh dearie
Federal government civilian employment: the spikes occur every 10 years when the census is taken.
- Total civilian employment: 2.9 million
- 1-month growth: +3,000
- 3-month growth: +16,000
State governments (includes education, such as at state universities).
- Total employment: 5.3 million
- 1-month growth: +10,000
- 3-month growth: +38,000
Local governments – employment is dominated by education, such as teachers. After the pandemic, school districts found themselves with massive teacher shortages.
- Total employment: 14.7 million
- 1-month growth: +38,000
- 3-month growth: +99,000
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