Cement masons, cabinetmakers, and ushers were among the jobs that benefitted most from rebounds in the construction and leisure and hospitality sectors in 2014. Between 2013 and 2014, employment in those sectors grew 3.6% and 2.8%, respectively.
Unemployment rates in those occupations fell by more than 9.8 percentage points between 2013 and 2014, according to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nationally, the unemployment rate for the entire workforce fell 1.2 percentage points, from 7.4% to 6.2%.
Of the 325 occupations with sufficiently large labor forces to satisfy BLS publishing criteria, roughly 75% saw unemployment rates drop between 2013 and 2014, half of which fell by more than the national rate over that period. The labor force also grew over the same period in most of those occupations, one sign of a strengthening economy.
Some jobs — including teachers and customer service representatives — showed no improvement in the unemployment rate. They did register labor force expansions, however, indicating that the labor market for those occupations was strong enough to support additional workers.
Gains in the occupations with the sharpest drop in unemployment rates between 2013 and 2014 mirrored national trends. Of the 25 jobs with the biggest reductions in unemployment rates, half were in either manufacturing or construction. Significant improvement in those occupations’ unemployment rates does not mean those industries are not still struggling, however. Only small engine mechanics and computer and office machine repairers — two occupations in the manufacturing industry registering significant drops in unemployment — had unemployment rates below the national rate of 6.2% in 2014.
While the BLS tracks unemployment figures on more than 500 occupations, 150 occupations did not have enough workers to meet the Bureau’s standards for a sufficient sample size.
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