Job Market Update: Leading Industries & Regional Update

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The highest employment gains occurred in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, construction, healthcare and transportation and warehousing. Taking a closer look at the industries, here are some key sector highlights from the BLS “The Employment Situation – February 2015” report:

Leisure and Hospitality

Employment in this sector was dominated by the food services and drinking places subsector, which rose by +58,700 in February. The total number of workers in this subsector is 11 million.

Professional and Business Services

This industry reported +51,000 construction jobs added in February (19.5 million total workforce). Of the subsectors, administrative and support services accounted for +13,900 jobs, management and technical consulting services added 7,100 jobs and accounting and bookkeeping contributed 6,100 new jobs. Employment in the temporary help services saw a notable decrease in employment, cutting 7,800 jobs. This comes after a loss of -4,100 jobs in January.


Construction continued to add jobs in February, reporting a total of +29,000 new hires since January. Nearly all of the growth occurred in the specialty trade contractors subsector, which added 27,200 jobs. Of those 27,200, 17,200 were residential and the remaining 10,000 were nonresidential. The construction industry employs a total of 4 million workers.


Throughout February, health care employment saw an increase of 23,800 (14.9 million total workforce). Social assistance added 9,000 jobs (3.4 million total workforce), and hospitals added 8,700 jobs (4.8 million total workforce).

Transportation and Warehousing

The transportation and warehousing industry added 18,500 jobs in February. The majority of the job growth occurred in the couriers and messengers subsector, which added 12,300 jobs. Warehousing and storage added 3,900 jobs.

State and Regional Unemployment Data for 2014

The annual average unemployment rates declined in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2014. Employment-population ratios increased in 35 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 12 states, and were unchanged in 3 states. The U.S. jobless rate decreased by 1.2 percentage points to 6.2 percent in 2014, while the national employment-population ratio increased by 0.4 point to 59 percent.

This was the first year since 1984 that all 50 states and the District of Columbia had over-the-year unemployment rate declines. The largest decline occurred in Illinois (-2.0 percentage points), followed by Colorado, North Carolina, and Ohio (-1.8 points each). North Dakota had the lowest annual average unemployment rate (2.8 percent) in 2014. Nebraska (3.3 percent) and South Dakota (3.4 percent) had the next lowest jobless rates. Mississippi and Nevada had the highest jobless rates (7.8 percent each) among the states, followed by Rhode Island (7.7 percent). The District of Columbia also had a jobless rate of 7.8 percent.

Table: 2014 Average Unemployment Rates by Region