BLS October 2020 Jobs Report

The October 2020 Jobs Report: What is the Current US Employment Situation?


The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their monthly overview of the US employment situation and the data for October shows improvement from September after economic decline related to COVID-19. The labor department jobs report examines a range of US jobs data to gauge the overall health of the US economy, specifically the number of jobs added, the unemployment rate, and what industries are hiring now.

The October jobs report shows positive change in the labor market. Unemployment declined to 6.9% and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 638,000, while the number of unemployed persons declined by 1.5 million to 11.1 million. These improvements are related to a resurgence in economy activity after major coronavirus-related slowdowns beginning in March.


Unemployment Rate



Number of Unemployed People



Change in Nonfarm Payroll Unemployment


Here are some other key statistics from the labor department jobs report:

  • 21.2% percent of employed persons teleworked specifically due to the coronavirus pandemic. That’s a slight decrease from 22.7% in September.
  • 3.6 million people who were not in the labor force in September were prevented from looking for work due to the pandemic. This number is down from 4.5 million in September.

Although job gains have slowed down since the dramatic increases we saw in June, October brought job gains in many industries hiring in 2020. We saw the greatest employment changes in leisure and hospitality and professional and business services (half of these gains came from temporary help services). We also saw significant increase in retail trade, construction, and others as economic activity continued to pick up. Government jobs decreased largely due to a decline in temporary jobs for the 2020 Census. Here are the industries that were affected in October:


Change in Employment by Industry


Overall, the labor department jobs report suggests that the economy is improving but job gains have slowed down significantly. Due to the impact of the coronavirus, our economy is still in poor shape compared to our employment situation in February. To track employment numbers and the health of the economy, check back for our summary of the BLS November jobs report on December 4, 2020.

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By Sarah Ballow | November 06, 2020