OCTOBER JOB MARKET UPDATES: SHAKER’S TAKE

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October Job Gains in Leisure/Hospitality, Professional/Business Services, Retail Trade, and Construction.

Nonfarm payrolls were up by 638,000, just slightly off the total September pace of 672,000, as monthly job growth continued positive momentum for the sixth month in a row. October’s growth would have been even stronger if it was not for the loss of 147,000 temporary census workers, which was part of a decline of 268,000 in government jobs. Therefore, private job creation (taking out government jobs from the count) totaled 906,000, up from September’s 892,000.

The best job gains came in the Leisure/Hospitality sector (hardest hit during the pandemic) up by 271,000, of which bars and restaurants added 192,000 jobs. Since April, Leisure/Hospitality has added 4.8 million jobs, with employment in the sector now down by 3.5 million since February.

Professional/Business services added 208,000 jobs in October, with Temporary Help Services accountable for about 50% of the job gain, adding 109,000. Employment in Professional/Business services is down from February by 1.1 million. Retail added 104,000 jobs, with almost 33% of the gain at Electronics and Appliance Stores, with an increase of 31,000 jobs. Retail jobs are up by 1.9 million since April, 499,000 below February. Construction added 93,000 jobs. During the last six months, Construction has added 789,000 jobs, down by 294,000 since February.

Overall, October’s job growth is up by 12 million since May. Therefore 10.1 million jobs lost in March and April are still unfilled. The October unemployment rate was down by 1.0% to 6.9%, up from 3.5% in February. The number of unemployed persons was down by 1.5 million to 11.1 million, up from 5.8 million in February.

In October, 21.2% of employed persons teleworked or worked at home for pay at some point in the last four weeks, specifically due to the COVID-19 crisis, a slight decrease from 22.7% in September. 15.1 million persons (down from 19.4 million in September) reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours in the last four weeks due to the crisis. About 3.6 million persons not in the labor force were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic, down from 4.5 million in September.

Take a look at the infographic below for more info on the October job market.


Overall, we are still not in a normal environment for maintaining capacity within many workforces in a manner first anticipated at the beginning of the year. As we plan for 2021, there is still no one clear direction that has been identified. Best to remain flexible — ready to make short-term adjustments while maintaining long-term aspirations. In doing so, best to maintain as much transparency with your current workforce, potential candidates, and alumni workers. Companies need to support a clear line of communication through public media such as social networks, talent communities, their career sites, and private media such as email, text messaging, and video/audio venues. Each form of messaging will maintain your Employer Brand, which will support loyalty, retention, and overall on-job performance. For guidance on candidate and employee communication, please contact us at Shaker Recruitment Marketing.

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Mike Temkin

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