We're Still Down 6.8 Million Jobs

Between January of 2008 and February of 2010, 8.75 million jobs disappeared. Since then, 1.94 million jobs have come back. Here's what that looks like for a handful of key sectors.

Jobs lost and gained i
Jess Jiang/NPR
Jobs lost and gained
Jess Jiang/NPR

A few notes on the graph:

Manufacturing jobs have come back a bit, but not nearly enough to make up what was lost. This is part of a long-term trend that goes back well before the recession: U.S. manufacturing has become increasingly high-tech, and less labor intensive. The sector sheds jobs during recessions and doesn't add them back during expansions.

Construction jobs haven't come back at all. The home-building boom that accompanied the housing boom, combined with the wave of foreclosed homes on the market, has led to a glut of houses for sale. As a result, construction of new homes has fallen to a record-low pace. Recently, there have been signs that the glut is shrinking, which could mean that the housing market is finally hitting bottom.

State and local governments have been cutting jobs month after month, even as the private sector has been adding jobs. In July, the number of government jobs fell by 37,000, though that was largely driven by the partial government shutdown in Minnesota.

Health care has consistently added jobs, no matter what the rest of the economy has been doing. While this is helpful for the overall jobs picture, it is also a reflection of the relentless rise in health care costs that is unsustainable in the long term.

Update, 12:00 P.M.:

Here's another way of slicing the numbers — percent of jobs lost and gained by sector.

Percent change in jobs i

Percent change in jobs Jess Jiang/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jess Jiang/NPR
Percent change in jobs

Percent change in jobs

Jess Jiang/NPR

Note: The data for both charts come from table B-1 of the BLS's establishment survey.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from