About 92 percent of civilian workers with access to paid holidays receive Labor Day as a paid holiday. Before you set out for that long holiday weekend, take a moment to look at some fast facts we’ve compiled that show the current picture of our labor market.
- Our monthly payroll survey shows that employment continues to expand—now 10.7 million jobs above the January 2008 peak.
- Employment growth has averaged 215,000 per month thus far in 2018, above the average monthly gain in 2017 (+182,000).
Working or Looking for Work
- The civilian labor force participation rate—the share of the population working or looking for work—was 62.9 percent in July. The rate had trended down from the 2000s through the early 2010s, but it has remained fairly steady since 2014.
- The unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in July. After 6 months at 4.1 percent, the rate has had offsetting movements in recent months. In May, the rate hit its lowest point, 3.8 percent, since April 2000.
- In July, there were 1.4 million long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more). This represented 22.7 percent of the unemployed, down from a peak of 45.5 percent in April 2010 but still above the 16-percent share seen in late 2006.
- Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers was 13.1 percent in July, while the rates were 3.4 percent for adult men and 3.7 percent for adult women. The unemployment rate was 6.6 percent for Blacks or African Americans, 4.5 percent for Hispanics or Latinos, 3.1 percent for Asians, and 3.4 percent for Whites.
- On the last business day of June 2018, the number of nonfarm job openings was 6.7 million. The May 2018 job openings level of 6.8 million was the highest recorded since the series began in December 2000. Over the year, job openings increased by 583,000.
- There were 3.4 million quits in June 2018, following a historic high of 3.5 million quits in May 2018.
- The ratio of unemployed people per job opening was 1.0 on the last business day in June. This ratio reached a historic low of 0.9 in both April and May 2018.
Pay and Benefits
- Average weekly earnings rose by 3.0 percent between July 2017 and July 2018; adjusted for inflation, real average weekly earnings are up 0.1 percent during this period.
- Civilian compensation (wage and benefit) costs increased 2.8 percent between June 2017 and June 2018; adjusted for inflation, real compensation costs decreased 0.1 percent during this period.
- Paid leave benefits are available to most private industry workers. The access rates in March 2018 were 71 percent for sick leave, 77 percent for vacation, and 78 percent for holidays.
- In March 2018, civilian workers paid 20 percent of the cost of medical care premiums for single coverage and 32 percent for family coverage.
- Labor productivity—output per hour worked—in the U.S. nonfarm business sector grew 1.1 percent in 2017, continuing the historically below-average pace seen since the Great Recession. Some industries had impressive growth, however, including wireless telecommunications carriers (11.1 percent) and electronics and appliance stores (9 percent).
- Multifactor productivity growth in the private nonfarm business sector recovered in 2017, rising 0.9 percent after falling 0.6 percent in 2016. Labor input for multifactor productivity—measured using the combined effects of hours worked and labor composition—grew 2.0 percent in 2017, outpacing the long-term 1987–2017 growth for labor input by 0.5 percentage points.
Safety and Health
- In 2016, there were 5,190 fatal workplace injuries. That was the highest annual total since 2008 but still below the numbers of workplace deaths in the 1990s, when over 6,000 fatalities occurred per year.
- There were about 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported in 2016 by private industry employers, nearly 48,500 fewer cases from a year earlier. This resulted in an incidence rate of 2.9 cases per 100 full-time workers in 2016. The rate is down from 9.2 cases per 100 full-time workers in 1976.
- In 2017, 14.3 percent of all workers were exposed to hazardous contaminants. The use of personal protective equipment was required for 11.8 percent of workers.
- Occupations that typically require a bachelor’s degree for entry made up 21.5 percent of employment. This educational category includes registered nurses, teachers at the kindergarten through secondary levels, and many management, business and financial operations, computer, and engineering occupations.
- For 18 of the 30 occupations projected to grow the fastest between 2016 and 2026, some postsecondary education is typically required for entry.
- The union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was 10.7 percent in 2017, unchanged from 2016. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent.
- Total employer compensation costs for union workers were $47.65 and for nonunion workers $32.87 per employee hour worked. The cost of benefits accounted for 40.4 percent of total compensation or $19.23 for union workers and 29.1 percent or $9.56 for nonunion workers.
- In the first 7 months of 2018, there were 445,000 workers involved in work stoppages that began this year. This is the largest number of workers involved in stoppages since 2000, when 394,000 workers were involved. There have been 12 stoppages beginning this year, which surpassed the 7 recorded in all of 2017.