Unemployment rates are a strong indicator of a market’s performance and are key to understanding its potential. If you’re thinking about starting a business in the United States, knowing what the latest unemployment rates are according to industry can help guide your decision on what sector to break into. Here’s a look at a recent analysis of unemployment rates by industry. 

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Unemployment rate by industry: top five

According to the latest numbers published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leisure and hospitality industry currently has the highest unemployment rate. As of August 2023, this figure stands at 5.8%, which means that around one out of every 17 people aged 16 and above working in this sector is out of work. This equates to a workforce of 817,000 people, and represents a 0.3 percentage point fall from the previous year’s unemployment rate.

Second on the list charting unemployment rate by industry is transportation and utilities. 4.4% of workers in this sector are unemployed, which is around 370,000 people. This is a marginal 0.1 percentage point increase from August 2022. This is followed by the information and construction industries, which have unemployment rates of 4.1% and 3.9%, respectively. Wholesale and retail trade complete the five industries with the highest unemployment rates—3.8% of people in this line of business are jobless, an annual rise of 0.1 percentage points.

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Unemployment rate by industry: others

Next on the ranking of unemployment rate by industry is professional and business services, with 3.7%, a 0.2 percentage point annual increase. The education and health services sector follows. It has a rate of 3.2%. This is also the sector with the highest number of unemployed workers, currently at 822,000.

Here are the other industries and their unemployment rates in August 2023:

  1. Manufacturing: 2.7%
  2. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction: 2.5%
  3. Financial activities: 2.2%
  4. Other services: 3.5%

Of all the industries, the only one whose unemployment rate held steady from the previous year is construction. Meanwhile, three experienced an annual decrease: 

  • Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction: 2.6% to 2.5%
  • Manufacturing: 3.3% to 2.7%
  • Leisure and hospitality: 6.1% to 5.8%

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