Economists' Outlook

Housing stats and analysis from NAR's research experts.

State Employment Update: 9.3 Million Jobs Gained in May-July, with 12.9 Million Still to Recover

The latest State Employment Monitor report discusses the recently released July state employment figures in industries that have a strong impact on residential and commercial real estate transactions. The July figures show strong employment growth, but the gains are not yet at a level that fully recovers the lost jobs. Jobs are coming back in the Northeast states, but they have the most lost ground to recover still.

Total nonfarm payroll jobs: +9.3 million during May-July, but 12.9 million lost jobs to recover

  • The economy created 9.3 million net nonfarm payroll jobs during May-July. However, 12.9 million payroll jobs still need to be regained.  In July alone, 1.8 million jobs were created.  So if the economy keeps producing jobs at this rate, the 12.9 million lost jobs relative to February can be recovered in about 8 months.
  • Relative to February 2020 levels, payroll employment in Idaho, Utah, Mississippi, and Nebraska is closer to pre-pandemic levels, with employment at below 5% of the level in February.
  • The states with the largest lost employment to recover are Hawaii; several Northeast states of New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware; Alaska; Michigan; and Nevada.

Real estate, rental, and leasing jobs: +63,000 jobs during May-July, but 185,000 jobs to recover

  • During May-July,63,000 net payroll jobs in finance and insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing were created.  However, 185,000 payroll jobs in real estate rental and leasing still need to be regained, or 8% of the pre-pandemic level.
  • The only state where estate, rental, and leasing payroll jobs are ahead or at least the same as the pre-pandemic levels are Idaho, Mississippi, and New Hampshire.
  • In July alone, 21,000 finance and insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing jobs were created. The strongest job growths were in New York, Missouri, and West Virginia.

Construction jobs: +639,999 during May-July, but 444,000 lost jobs to recover

  • During May-July,639,000 net payroll construction jobs were created. However, 444,000 payroll jobs still need to be regained, or 6% of the pre-pandemic level. 
  • However, construction employment is now above pre-pandemic levels in South Dakota, Utah, the District of Columbia, Wyoming, Virginia, West Virginia, and Missouri. But construction employment has fallen by least 10% below February levels in Northeast states.
  • In July alone, 20,000 construction jobs were created. The strongest job growths were in New York, Missouri, and West Virginia.

Leisure and hospitality: 3.9 million jobs during May-July, but 3.9 million lost jobs to recover

  • During May-July, 3.9 million net payroll jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry were created. However, 3.2 million more jobs need to be regained, or 20% of the pre-pandemic level. Among the broad industry group, leisure and hospitality have received the heaviest blow from health safety efforts to control the pandemic.
  • In Hawaii and many Northeast states, around 40 to 50% of jobs have been lost.
  • In July alone, 592,000 jobs were created. The strongest job growths were in New Jersey and New York, as these states had a late start in allowing businesses to open.

Professional and business services:  684,000 jobs during May-July, but 1.6 million jobs to recover

  • During May – July, 648,000 net payroll jobs in the professional and business services industry were created. However, 1.6 million jobs need to be regained, or 8% have to be restored.
  • The heaviest job losses are in Nevada, Kentucky, and several Northeast states: New York, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, as well as Michigan and Hawaii.
  • Office leasing activity will improve with net new jobs created, but vacancy rates will remain elevated until a full job recovery.

Check out other trends in the State Employment Monitor report.

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