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Employment up 661,000 in September 2020; leisure and hospitality adds 318,000 jobs

October 06, 2020

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 661,000 in September, following larger gains in the prior 4 months. In September, nonfarm employment was below its February level by 10.7 million, or 7.0 percent. Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 318,000, accounting for almost half of the gain in total nonfarm employment in September.

1-month change in nonfarm payroll employment by industry, August 2020 to September 2020
Industry Net change in employment

Total nonfarm


Total private


Mining and logging






Wholesale trade


Retail trade


Transportation and warehousing






Financial activities


Professional and business services


Education and health services


Leisure and hospitality


Other services




In September 2020, almost two-thirds of the gain in leisure and hospitality employment occurred in food services and drinking places (+200,000). Despite job growth totaling 3.8 million over the last 5 months, employment in food services and drinking places is down by 2.3 million since February. Amusements, gambling, and recreation (+69,000) and accommodation (+51,000) also added jobs in September.

Retail trade added 142,000 jobs from August 2020 to September 2020, with widespread job gains in the industry. Clothing and clothing accessories stores (+40,000) accounted for about one-fourth of the over-the-month change in retail trade. Notable employment increases also occurred in general merchandise stores (+20,000), motor vehicle and parts dealers (+16,000), and health and personal care stores (+16,000). Employment in retail trade is 483,000 lower than in February.

Professional and business services added 89,000 jobs in September 2020. Despite gains of 910,000 since April, employment in professional and business services is 1.4 million lower than in February. Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 74,000 in September. Although the industry has added 291,000 jobs since May, employment in transportation and warehousing is 304,000 lower than in February. Manufacturing added 66,000 jobs over the month. Despite gains over the past 5 months, employment in manufacturing is 647,000 below February's level.

In September 2020, government employment declined by 216,000. Employment in local government education and state government education fell by 231,000 and 49,000, respectively. A decrease of 34,000 in federal government was driven by a decline in the number of temporary Census 2020 workers. Partially offsetting these declines, employment in local government, excluding education, rose by 96,000.

These data are from the Current Employment Statistics program. Data for the most recent 2 months are preliminary. To learn more, see "The Employment Situation — September 2020" and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the September data. We also have more charts on nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employment up 661,000 in September 2020; leisure and hospitality adds 318,000 jobs at (visited November 28, 2022).