skip to Main Content
MSJ NEWS see latest news

U.S. Adds 49,000 Jobs in January; Losses Continue in Hospitality and Other Sectors

  • Following losses in December, statistics from the Labor Department show a small net jobs gain in January
  • Gains in professional and business services, along with education, offset by losses in hospitality and several other sectors
  • U.S. jobs remain approximately 10 million below pre-pandemic numbers

The United States experienced a net gain of 49,000 jobs in January, according to the latest figures from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the labor market remained far below pre-pandemic levels, with nearly 10 million fewer jobs than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gains in professional and business services, as well as public and private education, were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality, health care, retail, and transportation and warehousing. Several sectors, including construction, manufacturing, and finance, saw little change in their jobs numbers.

Professional and business services added 97,000 jobs, led by an 81,000 increase in temporary help services positions. There were smaller gains of 16,000 jobs in management and technical consulting, 11,000 in computer systems design and related positions, and 10,000 positions in research and development. Building services shed 14,000 jobs, while advertising jobs were down by 6,000.

Local government education jobs were up 49,000. State government education added 36,000 positions, while private education jobs increased by 34,000.

The leisure and hospitality sector shed fewer jobs compared to the loss of 525,000 positions in December, but still lost 61,000 jobs. These included a drop of 27,000 jobs in amusements and recreation, 19,000 fewer jobs at food service or drinking establishments, and 18,000 fewer jobs in accommodation. Overall, the sector has lost 3.9 million jobs, a 22.9 percent reduction, since February 2020.

After adding 135,000 net jobs in December, retail was down by 38,000 jobs. General merchandise stores were hardest hit, posting 38,000 fewer jobs, followed by a loss of 29,000 jobs at electronics stores. Food and beverage and clothing retailers each added 15,000 jobs.

Health care lost 30,000 jobs, led by a 19,000 drop at nursing homes and 13,000 reduction in home health care jobs. Transportation and warehousing was down 28,000, mostly in warehousing and storage (down 17,000) and couriers and messengers (down 14,000).

Overall, there were 9.9 million fewer jobs in the United States in January than there were in February 2020, a drop of 6.5 percent.

Average hourly pay increased six cents to $29.96 per hour, while the average work week increased 0.3 hours to 35 hours.

The unemployment rate fell 0.4 points to 6.3 percent, with 10.1 million people unemployed. This was driven in part by a revision in the Labor Department’s population estimates. The reduction was also evenly split between people who returned to work and people who were no longer seeking work and thus no longer considered to be unemployed.

While the unemployment figures were below the April 2020, they also continued to lag behind pre-pandemic numbers. In February 2020, 5.7 million people were out of work and the unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

The latest jobs report comes on the heels of a Congressional Budget Office analysis which anticipates that the nation’s GDP will return to pre-pandemic levels by mid-year but that the labor recovery will be more sluggish and take years to return to pre-pandemic levels. The data could play a role in deliberations over a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package proposed by President Joe Biden.

Spread the Word

More To Explore

Expert Summaries

Know Your Competitors

By Denis Jakuc 

There are tons of benefits to knowing who your competitors are—what they’re offering, their strengths and weaknesses. That knowledge can help you make your products and services stand out,

Latest News

Join with Free InnovatorsLINK Account

Start accessing all the free member benefits and valuable content on the InnovatorsLINK platform. Create a BizLINK listing to boost brand exposure, receive the weekly Main Street Journal newsletter, engage in forums, get full access to free content, and more.