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Employment Research

The Geography of Employment

In the U.S., 112 of more than 3,000 counties accounted for 50% of employment in 2020.

Last updated: 04-27-2022

The "Great Reallocation" of Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This Economic Synopses details what authors Serdar Birinci and Aaron Amburgey label the “Great Reallocation”—the large number of job transitions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated: 03-04-2022

Gender Influences Job Experiences

How do the jobs and earnings of men and women tend to differ? Find out in this article by Diego Mendez-Carbajo in Page One Economics.

Last updated: 01-06-2022

Workers Hit Harder by the COVID-19 Shock Recovered Slower

There were unequal employment effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a larger negative initial impact on women, minorities, the less educated, and the young. But by February 2021, the differential effects across groups had gotten much smaller overall.

Last updated: 10-18-2021

Unemployment Duration for Different Worker Types

Data on different worker types shed light on why, on average, it seems to become harder to find a job the longer a person is unemployed.

Last updated: 11-01-2021

U.S. Labor Force Slow to Rebound Amid Post-Pandemic Activity

Delve into why many remain outside the labor force even as economic conditions have improved since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last updated: 10-29-2021

More Retirees During the Pandemic

As of August 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic, slightly more than 3 million people likely retired earlier than they would have otherwise. Find out more here.

Last updated: 11-01-2021

Employment Up Say New Real-Time Data

Employment information usually arrives with a lag, making it difficult to see sudden changes in labor market conditions. New high-frequency employment data, however, provide a real-time view of the labor market. Using this data, new research finds that employment has recently increased and will likely continue to as the pandemic wanes. 

Last updated: 11-03-2021

Paychecks at the Top, at the Bottom, and in the Middle

The FRED Blog looks at graphing BLS Current Population Survey data to see the distribution of income in the U.S. 

Last updated: 08-29-2019

March's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 196,000 in March.

Last updated: 04-08-2019

Short-Term "Gig" Work Is Booming with Options

App-driven jobs allow workers to decide when, where, and how much to work—one “gig” at a time.

Last updated: 03-01-2019

February's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 20,000 in February.

Last updated: 03-11-2019

Could Baby Boomer Retirements Affect U.S. Productivity in the 2020s?

Baby Boomers are a large section of the U.S. population. A recent working paper by Guillaume Vandenbroucke explores how much that demographic shift affected the 1970s productivity slowdown and how Boomer retirement could affect 2020s productivity.

Last updated: 03-07-2019

The Reliability of Recession Predictors

With unemployment hitting historic lows and the Treasury yield curve flattening, economists are considering when the next recession might occur.  

Last updated: 06-01-2018

Who's Working Multiple Jobs?

Whether it's a second (or third) job or just a "side hustle," researchers are looking at which Americans are working multiple gigs.

Last updated: 02-18-2019

January's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 304,000 in January.

Last updated: 02-04-2019

How Much Do Connections between Companies and Industries Affect the Economy?

In modern industrial production, an economic downturn in one industry (like steel) will be felt by many connected industries and firms. 

Last updated: 02-04-2019

Could Automation Make Income Inequality Worse?

From grocery self-checkout to self-driving cars, automation is growing. Could the decrease in certain kinds of occupations increase income inequality?

Last updated: 01-28-2019

Do U.S. Manufacturing Employees Work More than Their Canadian Peers?

A recent FRED Blog post looks at average hours worked and finds a difference of more than five hours between the average Canadian and U.S. manufacturing work week.

Last updated: 01-22-2018

December's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 312,000 in December.

Last updated: 01-09-2019

How Do Holidays Affect the Unemployment Rate?

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day are all factors in the "seasonality" of unemployment. Learn how seasonal adjustment makes better data in this recent FRED Blog post. 

Last updated: 12-31-2018

Understanding Estimates and Revisions in Regional Jobs Data

Learn how (and why) the St. Louis Fed produces more timely updates to the BLS's monthly state and local employment data.

Last updated: 12-24-2018

Is College Worth the Cost of Student Loans?

What do the data say about the value of higher education for students who must take out student loans?

Last updated: 12-17-2018

November's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 155,000 in November.

Last updated: 12-13-2018

FRED Blog: The Growth in Non-wage Benefits

The FRED Blog finds a clear trend since 1950 in the percent of employee compensation going to insurance and retirement and not wages or salaries

Last updated: 11-27-2018

Inside FRASER: Women's Research on Women's Employment

A recent Inside FRASER blog post explored historical research from the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, including changes in the jobs women held between 1920 and 1950.

Last updated: 11-23-2018

October's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 250,000 in October.

Last updated: 11-13-2018

Find Out How Much You Could Be Making with Our Cost of Living Calculators

Geography affects your cost of living, which affects your purchasing power. Use our interactive maps, graphs, and tools to see how far your paycheck could go.

Last updated: 11-06-2018

What Do Teachers' Real Wages Look Like Across the Country?

When adjusted for differences in cost of living, what does a teacher in Oklahoma make compared with teachers in West Virginia, Missouri, or California? Recent research looks at variance in teacher pay across all 50 states. 

Last updated: 10-29-2018

FRED Blog: Which Wages are Growing?

The FRED Blog asks: What does wage growth since 2001 look like once inflation is taken into account? 

Last updated: 10-22-2018

Married Men Make More

Data show that the average man makes more than the average woman -- but married men make more than single men, too. 

Last updated: 10-15-2018

A Majority of Jobs in the Fed's Eighth District Could Face Automation

Advances in technology can automate jobs that have traditionally been performed by people. A recent Regional Economist article looks at how many jobs in the St. Louis Fed's District could be performed by machines.

Last updated: 10-01-2018

September's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 134,000 in September.

Last updated: 10-09-2018

Investigating Income Inequality in Four Countries

Inequality is a hot topic, but what do the data have to say about patterns in wages over time? A recent Review article looks at 30+ years of salaries and wages in the United States, Canada, Sweden, and Denmark.

Last updated: 09-24-2018

FRED Blog: Are Wages Growing Slowly?

In a recent post, the FRED blog compares patterns in wage growth after the past four recessions to see if the data confirm popular opinions about stagnant paychecks. 

Last updated: 09-17-2018

August's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 201,000 in August.

Last updated: 09-10-2018

Historical Employment Research: Labor Day and Paid Time Off

Explore the history of Labor Day and other employee holidays in a vintage Bureau of Labor Statistics report on collective bargaining and paid-time-off benefits.

Last updated: 09-04-2018

How Will Steel Tariffs Impact Jobs?

A recent Liberty Street Economics post by

Last updated: 08-27-2018

FRED Blog: Manufacturing Productivity

Employment is climbing, but manufacturing productivity isn't. Is part-time work to blame? 

Last updated: 08-20-2018

July's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 157,000 in July.

Last updated: 08-06-2018

Inside FRASER: BLS Unemployment Statistics

An Inside FRASER post looks at the history of how the Bureau of Labor Statistics explains unemployment data. 

Last updated: 08-01-2018

The Effects of the E-Verify Program on Undocumented Immigrant Employment Levels

An online federal system, known as E-Verify, enables employers to digitally check worker eligibility documents against federal records. 

Last updated: 07-24-2018

The Role of Neighborhood Connections after Mass Layoffs

Do stronger labor market network connections between neighbors increase the probability of reemployment for workers who experience mass layoffs?

Last updated: 07-16-2018

June's Employment Situation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total nonfarm payrolls increased by 213,000 in June.

Last updated: 07-06-2018

Why Are Labor Force Participation Rates Declining?

A recent analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas outlined several possible explanations for the discrepancy between labor force participation rates in the U.S. and other developed countries.

Last updated: 06-18-2018

May's Employment Situation

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent in May, and total nonfarm payrolls increased by 223,000.

Last updated: 06-04-2018

May 17: Unemployment Claims Decline

According to the May 17 release from the Labor Department, the four-week moving average of initial claims for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since 1969.

Last updated: 05-22-2018

Inside FRASER: A History of Women's Economic Rights

A recent Inside FRASER post provided a historical overview of women’s economic rights, including differences in wages based on gender. 

Last updated: 05-14-2018

April's Employment Situation

On May 4, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total nonfarm employment increased by 164,000 in April and the unemployment rate dipped to 3.9 percent.

Last updated: 05-07-2018

The FRED Blog: Unemployment Insurance Requirements

When a worker is unemployed, local unemployment insurance can bridge the gap between jobs. However, being unemployed does not guarantee that you’ll receive benefits from your local unemployment insurance program. 

Last updated: 04-16-2018

March's Employment Situation

On April 6, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that total nonfarm payrolls increased by 103,000 in March.

Last updated: 04-10-2018

FRED Blog: Where are workers moving?

Recently, the FRED Blog examined U.S. Census Bureau data over the past 40 years to find out where workers are moving.

Last updated: 04-02-2018

The Evolution of the American Workplace

In a recent Regional Economist essay, Alexander Monge-Naranjo and Juan Ignacio Vizcaino explored the shifts in the American labor landscape over the past 70 years.

Last updated: 03-21-2018

Industry Spotlight: Manufacturing

Jobs in the manufacturing sector is a frequent and controversial topic among politicians and journalists. Recent research from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis highlights the complexity of the industry as it relates to employment and productivity.

Last updated: 03-21-2018

February's Employment Situation

On March 9, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase of 313,000 new jobs; the unemployment rate remained at 4.1% for the fifth month in a row.

Last updated: 03-09-2018

Regional and State Unemployment in 2017

Annual average unemployment rates dropped in 32 states in 2017, according to a recent BLS report.

Last updated: 03-05-2018

Will Robots Take Our Jobs?

Author Scott Wolla explores the history of technological advancements in automation from the Industrial Revolution to the modern era.

Last updated: 02-19-2018

KC Fed Labor Market Conditions Index Declines in January

On February 7, the Kansas City Fed reported that the Labor Market Conditions Index Momentum Indicator declined in January for the second month in a row.

Last updated: 02-13-2018

January's Employment Situation

On February 2, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 200,000 in January. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent.

Last updated: 02-02-2018

The Productivity Puzzle

Curious about manufacturing? Much attention is given to imported manufactured products, but how much is produced domestically, and what factors contribute to productivity and economic growth?

Last updated: 01-08-2018

The Link Between Soft Skills and Success

Which traits are most helpful when interviewing for jobs? This Page One Economics essay explores which characteristics help job seekers most, along with interview tips.

Last updated: 01-08-2018

December's Employment Situation

On January 5, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 148,000 in December. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 percent.

Last updated: 01-08-2018

November's Employment Situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 228,000 in November and the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last updated: 12-08-2017

The Education Levels of Hourly Workers

The FRED Blog recently examined payroll employment and the education levels of workers who are paid an hourly rate.

Last updated: 12-04-2017

How Does the St. Louis Economy Really Compare to Its Peers?

In recent years, the St. Louis economy has been seen as lackluster. But if you look beyond the headline measures of economic performance, such as unemployment rates and GDP, St. Louis may be doing better than it appears. 

Last updated: 11-27-2017

Business and Financial Developments: Late Summer 2017

Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis periodically analyze national and local economic conditions. Their late summer report included findings on the Eighth District labor market, and GDP growth projections.

Last updated: 11-17-2017

Implications of Unemployment

The longer a worker is unemployed, the more significant the income loss; but these losses vary across individuals and occupations.

Last updated: 11-06-2017

October's Employment Situation

On November 3, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total nonfarm payrolls increased by 261,000.

Last updated: 11-03-2017

Eighth District Beige Book Update

Economic conditions have improved at a modest pace since our previous report. Labor markets remain tight and employment was little changed. Reports on consumer spending improved, although reports from auto dealers remain mixed.

Last updated: 09-11-2017

September's Employment Situation

On October 6, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 33,000 in September, likely due to the effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Last updated: 10-06-2017

Who's working and where?

The FRED Blog examined labor force participation rates across the U.S., Spain, U.K., and Japan and found stark differences.

Last updated: 10-04-2017

In St. Louis, High-Wage & Low-Wage Earners Gain Ground Over Middle-Wage Earners

Wage inequality is a hot topic across the country, as municipalities debate whether to increase their minimum wage. In St. Louis, where the state legislature overturned the city’s recent increase to a $10 per hour minimum wage, the debate is particularly timely.

Last updated: 09-26-2017

The FRED Blog: Who’s hiring?

The FRED Blog examined the very active U.S. labor market and its hiring rates by sector and found large disparities. 

Last updated: 09-19-2017

Employment Research

Information from contacts suggests that economic conditions have continued to expand at a modest pace since our previous report. Reports of planned activity in the manufacturing and nonfinancial services sectors were generally positive. Labor market conditions remain tight, with moderate growth in both employment and wages. Reports indicate that consumer spending growth was generally unchanged, but with expectations of improvement in the first part of this year.

Last updated: 01-18-2017

August's Employment Situation

On September 1, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 156,000 in August. 

Are Economists Underestimating the Labor Force Participation Rate?

 A recent Boston Fed working paper by Anat Bracha and Mary A. Burke titled “Who Counts as Employed? Informal Work, Employment Status, and Labor Market Slack” considers whether nonstandard work arrangements (aka the “Gig Economy”) are being accurately represented in the official BLS measures, and offers ways to improve their accuracy.

July's Employment Situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 209,000 in July with food services and drinking places, professional and business services, and healthcare seeing the largest sector gains.  The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.3 percent.

June's Employment Situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 222,000 in June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

May's Employment Situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 138,000 in May but the unemployment rate was little changed.

Does a Change in Immigration Affect the Unemployment Rate?

Guillaume Vandenbroucke and Heting Zhu assess the connection between immigration and unemployment using state-level data between 2000 and 2005.

Long-Term Unemployment: Attached and Mismatched?

Long-term unemployment is often blamed on a mismatch between a worker’s skills and the skills demanded from a potential employer. However, in his working paper “Long-Term Unemployment: Attached and Mismatched?” David Wiczer introduced a model to measure how changes in specific industries affect unemployment for workers in those occupations.

How Does Networking Affect Your Job Search?

Professionals build networks to enhance their careers, often with the goal of gaining better access to new job opportunities. These benefits seem obvious, but economic research can provide deeper insight into how a job seeker’s network affects the speed and quality of job offers.

March Means Employment Data Revisions

Why are St. Louis employment numbers revised every March?

Eighth District Beige Book Update: March 2017

Find out how the Eighth District economy is doing! The March update of the Beige Book includes updates on employment, consumer spending, construction activity, and manufacturing activity.

Is Local Unemployment Related to Local Housing Prices?

The U.S. national labor market has recovered from the effects of the 2007-2009 recession; however, despite the national labor market recovery, significant regional variation remains. Recent economic research highlights links between regional labor and housing markets.

Who Was Hit Hardest by the Great Recession?

Long-term unemployment (LTU) is defined as continuous unemployment for 6 months or more. Alexander Monge-Naranjo and Faisal Sohail examined LTU for different age and gender groups before and after the Great Recession.

Will the Gender Pay Gap Get Smaller?

The earnings gap has narrowed 17 percentage points over the past 30 years but there are differences in how each Eighth District region narrowed the gap.

Last updated: 10-18-2017

Convergence in Productivity, R&D Intensity, and Technology Adoption

In the essay “Convergence in Productivity, R&D Intensity, and Technology Adoption,” Ana Maria Santacreu analyzes the role of research and technology adoption in achieving economic growth. 

Industry Spotlight: Aviation

Airline stock prices, changes to the c-suite for major carriers, and union negotiations are often featured in nightly business reports. The reason? The aviation industry is tied to many aspects of the overall economy, particularly employment and GDP. 

Who'd Be Most Affected by a Local Minimum Wage?

Charles Gascon and James D. Eubanks examined the impact of a citywide minimum wage and found that it would affect residents across the income spectrum and throughout the entire metropolitan area.

Are Sports Stadiums a Catalyst for Economic Development?

Government subsidies for sports stadiums are a hot topic for cities with professional teams. Scott Wolla recently analyzed what economists have found when studying the economics of sports stadiums and discovered that most economists do not support subsidizing professional sports stadiums.

Timely Topics: Chinese Imports, U.S. Jobs

In this podcast, economist Max Dvorkin talks about his research into the impact of Chinese imports on U.S. jobs during the period 2000-07, a time when those imports were surging. In all, 800,000 manufacturing jobs in the U.S. were lost because of these imports, Dvorkin found. On the flip side, a like number of jobs were created in different sectors. In addition, the cheaper imports led to an increase in buying power of $260 a year on average for every American—for life, he calculated. Who won? Who lost? What’s left to learn? Listen to the 14-minute podcast.

Eighth District Beige Book Update: May 2017

In May, the Eighth District reported robust activity in commercial construction, increased manufacturing activity, and deteriorating agricultural conditions.

Where is the Slack in the Labor Market?

The St. Louis Fed researches many aspects of the economy, including labor markets. An essay from 2014 showed that hours worked in the construction sector hadn’t recovered from the Great Recession and was a main cause of slack in the overall labor market. New data from FRED show that the construction sector may be rebounding.

Last updated: 05-01-2017

Which Middle-Skill Jobs Require More Education?

Researchers at the Federal Reserve Banks in Philadelphia and Atlanta analyzed online job ads for 4 middle-skill occupations to determine what trends in college degree requests were present and to explore how characteristics of different metropolitan areas affected a prospective employer’s degree requests.

April's Employment Situation

On May 5, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate remained at 4.4%, and total nonfarm payroll increased by 211,000.

The Connection Between High Unemployment and Disability Insurance

Why do counties with persistently high unemployment also have high rates of disability recipients?

Are Unemployment Data Revisions Biased?

Employment data can be revised multiple times, but the Fed often sets policy using the initial release data.

Making Sense of Unemployment Data

Job growth has been healthy for five years. However, many people still express concern over the health of the overall labor market. For example, Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, states that the “official unemployment rate, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, is extremely misleading.” He proposes the Gallup Good Jobs rate as a better indicator of the health of the labor market. At the heart of Clifton and others’ concern is what the official unemployment rate actually measures and whether it is a reliable indicator.

March's Employment Situation

On April 7, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 4.5 percent in March. 

Employment Focus: Coal Mining Jobs

Coal mining receives a great deal of attention but accounts for a small percentage of the U.S. labor force. Why?

February's Employment Situation

March 10, 2017: The BLS reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February, with the largest gains in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care, and mining. The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 percent, but was down from 4.9 percent in February 2016. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.8 million. The labor force participation rate also showed little change. The full report is available here.

Eighth District Beige Book Update - February 2017

Employment increased modestly in February, according to the Beige Book. See what business contacts across industries are saying and get an overview of economic conditions in the District.

Last updated: 02-02-2017

January's Employment Situation

Feb. 3, 2017: The BLS reported that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 227,000 in January, with job gains in retail trade, construction, and financial activities. The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27+ weeks) remained around 1.9 million. Since January 2016, that number has declined by 244,000. Labor force participation rose by 0.2% and total employment rose by 457,000 over the month. The full report is available here.

Employment Research Glossary

A glossary of terms used on this site.

Safe Occupations are Growing

This essay explores the changing workforce structure and the growth of “safer” occupations—that is, occupations with relatively more physically healthy workers.

Have Labor Costs Affected the Recovery?

Labor costs after 2009 grew more slowly than labor costs after 2001.

Duration Dependence and Composition in Unemployment Skills

Labor markets have improved since the Great Recession, but the average duration of unemployment, which is an indicator of labor market health, remains high. Authors James Eubanks and David Wiczer set out to discovery why this is happening.