In February 2021, employment rose by 379,000, with the unemployment rate only slightly changed to 6.2%. The market stats released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the labor market continues to be impacted by the effects of COVID-19. 

Key Stats

  • Unemployment in February 2021 decreases by only 0.1% to 6.2%. 
  • 379,000 new jobs created in February 2021. 
  • 22.7% of employees across the nation work remotely due to COVID-19.
  • Unemployment rate is down 2.7% from this time last year (February 2020: 3.5%)
  • Notable increases: Leisure and Hospitality, Health Care, Retail, and Manufacturing
  • Notable declines: Government, Construction and Mining

While market stats show promise when contrasted with the beginning of the pandemic (April 2020), we see small changes from January to February. A detailed look at unemployment in the last year is shown below:  

Unemployment rate February 2020: 3.5%, Employment rate February 2021: 6.2%

Remote Work and Pandemic Effects

A detailed look at those teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic shows that 22.7% of employed persons worked remotely in February. This number is down from 23.2% in January. This number is contrasted by 13.3 million persons that reported they had been unable to work due to a closed business, or lost business in February. 

Industry Breakdown

Employment in February was spread throughout many core industries. The most notable changes include the following industries. 

Leisure and Hospitality show the largest increase with 355,000 new jobs created. This happens as pandemic restrictions begin to open across the nation. Most increases are related to food services (286,000) with other notable increases for accommodation (36,000) and amusement, gambling and recreation (33,000). 

Manufacturing employment shows notable gains in the amount of 21,000 new hires over the month. This is highly related to an increase by 10,000 in transportation. 

Government saw a notable decrease in employment including local government education (-37,000), and state government education (-32,000).

Construction also experienced a decline in employment by 67,000. This is most notably seen in trade contractors (-37,000), and heavy and civil engineering (-21,000). 

Other industries that did not see as many notable changes include: Consumer Packaged Goods, Life Sciences, Medical Devices, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and financial services. 


If you’re looking to hire, click here to get started. 

For a detailed look at salaries this year, see our 2021 Salary Guide.

Check our job board for regularly updated jobs in Consumer Packaged Goods, Food and Beverage Manufacturing, and Life Sciences.

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