Employment by Industry

Employment by Industry (U.S.): In April 2021, the total number of seasonally adjusted (SA), non-farm people employed in the U.S. was 144.3 million (M) – an increase of 266,000 (+0.2%) month on month (m/m). When compared to April 2020, total employment is up by 10.9% year on year (y/y).  Although the numbers are relatively flat for the month, we saw the greatest employment gains within the service-providing sector.

The SA service-providing sector gained 282,000 jobs to reach total employment of 124M people in April, which is +0.2% m/m, and up 11.1% y/y. Service-providing employment in April accounted for 85.9% of the non-farm workforce.

The SA goods-producing sector employed 20.4M people in April – down 16,000 m/m (-0.1%), yet still up by 9.6% y/y. The goods-producing sector is creating jobs at a slower rate than the service-providing sector.

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Figure 1 shows manufacturing and construction employment on the same chart from 2005 to present. Construction employment remained flat m/m while manufacturing employment fell.

The SA manufacturing sector employed 12.3M people in April – down 18,000 m/m (-0.1%), yet still up 7.6% y/y. The two largest employment categories within manufacturing are 1) motor vehicles & parts, and 2) transportation equipment. This month, there were 878,500 employed in the manufacture of motor vehicles and parts, -27,000 change m/m. The transportation equipment field employed 1.6M workers. Jobs in this sector were down by 28,000 m/m. Other manufacturing sectors experienced job growth this month, helping to offset the declines in these two.

The construction sector employed a total of 7.5M – remaining flat m/m. Most construction workers are employed constructing buildings. In April there were 1.7M workers constructing buildings, up 0.1% m/m and 15.8% y/y. Heavy civil engineering was the next largest construction category, employing 1.1M in April – up 0.6% m/m and 6.3% y/y. Job declines in other construction sectors attributed to April’s net zero job creation.

At Gerdau, we keep an eye on national employment data – especially within manufacturing and construction – since this is where most long product steel is used. In addition, we know that growth in net job creation correlates to increased steel consumption.  



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