The FRED Blog has discussed how resilient the educational services industry has been to recessions: Employment levels in schools and colleges in New York City and California, for example, decreased at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic but bounced back mid-year.* With 2020 behind us, we use the Employment Situation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to revisit this topic.
The FRED graph above shows that since 1991, when data for educational services employment first became available, the year-to-year percent change in the number of persons employed has been positive in all but two years: 1992 and 2020. While the U.S. economy wasn’t in recession during any part of 1992, overall economic activity did contract starting in February 2020. That contraction resulted in a net loss of employment in educational services, health care, and social services for the year as a whole.
To go further back in time than 1991, we can examine data for the combined educational and health services supersector. Although educational and health services did not register the largest loss in annual employment among all the service industries in 2020, it did decrease for the first time since 1940. Stay tuned to the FRED Blog as we continue to monitor the wealth of FRED data during the rebound in economic activity expected for 2021.
* Revisit this July 30 FRED Blog post and click-and-drag on the graphs to expand the timeline.
How this graph was created: From FRED’s main page, browse data by “Release.” Search for “Employment Situation” and navigate the release table menus until you reach “Current Employment Statistics (Establishment Data): Table B-1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by industry sector and selected industry detail, Seasonally adjusted.” From there, check the boxes next to “Educational services,” “Health care,” and “Social assistance” and click on “Add to Graph.” Next, edit the graph by selecting “Edit Line 1.” Change the units to “Percent Change from Year Ago” and click on “Copy to all.” Last, change the format by selecting “Graph type: Bar.”
Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.
View on FRED, series used in this post: