Curtis Dubay
Chief Economist, U.S Chamber of Commerce


September 30, 2020


As we have written previously, the economic recovery is taking on a “K-shape.” That means some industries are doing well (they are the top part of the “K”) while others continue to struggle (the bottom part of the “K”). The job market data is a good example of how the K-shaped recovery is playing out.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes industry-level data (table B1) in its monthly jobs report. That data shows which industries are recovering jobs more quickly and those that are slower to recover.

It is clear that jobs losses are heavily concentrated in service industries.

When looking at the higher-level industry data, it is clear that jobs losses are heavily concentrated in service industries. More than 82 percent of the jobs lost since February are service jobs. Almost 11 percent are in goods-producing industries and about 7 percent of the remaining job losses are in government. In this analysis, goods-producing industries are the top of the “K” while services are the bottom.

% of Total Jobs Lost
 Mining and logging0.8%
    Durable goods4.3%
    Nondurable goods1.9%
Private service-providing82.1%
  Trade, transportation, and utilities11.9%
    Wholesale trade2.8%
    Retail trade5.7%
    Transportation and warehousing3.3%
  Financial activities1.7%
  Professional and business services12.8%
  Education and health services12.6%
  Leisure and hospitality35.8%
  Other services4.6%

However, the “K” shape exists within these sectors. For instance, while on average goods-producing industries have lost about 6 percent of their workforce since February, mining and logging is down almost 14 percent. The rest of the goods-producing industries have lost between 5 and 6 percent of their jobs.

The “K” shape is more pronounced within service-providing jobs. The total number of service jobs is down almost 9 percent compared to February.  But on the top of the “K” within services are utilities jobs which are down about 1 percent, financial activities jobs down 2 percent, and retail jobs down 4 percent. Meanwhile, leisure and hospitality jobs are down about 25 percent.

Goods-producing and Service-providing Industries

Top of "K"
Bottom of "K"


Jobs Lost Feb. - Aug.
% of Feb. Jobs Lost
Total nonfarm-11,549-7.6%
Mining and logging-97-13.6%
    Durable goods-496-6.2%
    Nondurable goods-224-4.7%
  Trade, transportation, and utilities-1,371-4.9%
    Wholesale trade-328-5.5%
    Retail trade-655-4.2%
    Transportation and warehousing-381-6.7%
  Financial activities-191-2.2%
  Professional and business services-1,475-6.8%
  Education and health services-1,457-5.9%
  Leisure and hospitality-4,139-24.5%
  Other services-531-8.9%

The BLS data drills down deeper into sub-sectors. A look at this more detailed data shows the “K” is more prominent among these sub-sectors. There are 16 sub-sectors whose job losses still exceed 20 percent of their February levels. There are also 16 sub-sectors that have added jobs since February. These sectors are scattered across goods and service producing businesses and there is a good deal of dispersion among them.

There are 16 industries with jobs losses still exceeding 20%, and 16 with job gains since February.

For instance, motion picture and sound recording has lost a stunning 50 percent of its jobs, performing arts and spectator sports 46 percent, and scenic sightseeing transportation 43 percent. The 20 percent loss in food and drinking places is less than half of these harder-hit industries.

On the upside, general merchandise stores, including warehouse clubs and supercenters have added more than 10 percent to their workforce. Couriers and messengers are up over 8 percent and building material and garden supply stores and miscellaneous computer and electronic products are both up over 6 percent. A table with all the sub-sectors is below.

The “K” shaped economic recovery is going to require Congress to craft a targeted relief package in its phase four bill. It will need to aid those industries at the bottom of the “K” because these industries are likely to lag behind as long as the pandemic persists.

Industries by Sub-Sector

Job Gains
>20% Job Loss



Feb. 2020 Jobs

Aug. 2020 Jobs

Change from Feb.

% Change from Feb.

Total nonfarm152,463140,914-11,549-7.6%
  Total private129,718119,000-10,718-8.3%
      Mining and logging714617-97-13.6%
          Oil and gas extraction157154-3-1.9%
          Mining, except oil and gas189180-9-4.6%
            Coal mining5046-5-9.5%
            Metal ore mining414100.2%
            Nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying9794-4-4.0%
          Support activities for mining315233-82-26.0%
      Construction of buildings1,6891,611-78-4.6%
        Residential building841820-21-2.5%
        Nonresidential building848791-57-6.7%
      Heavy and civil engineering construction1,0991,010-89-8.1%
      Specialty trade contractors4,8514,593-258-5.3%
        Residential specialty trade contractors2,1252,059-66-3.1%
        Nonresidential specialty trade contractors2,7262,534-192-7.1%
      Durable goods8,0587,562-496-6.2%
        Wood products411389-22-5.4%
        Nonmetallic mineral products426398-27-6.4%
        Primary metals373338-35-9.4%
        Fabricated metal products1,4841,388-96-6.5%
        Computer and electronic products1,0981,086-12-1.1%
          Computer and peripheral equipment16917010.4%
          Communications equipment8583-2-2.4%
          Semiconductors and electronic components378372-6-1.6%
          Electronic instruments433426-7-1.6%
          Miscellaneous computer and electronic products333526.3%
        Electrical equipment and appliances405379-25-6.2%
        Transportation equipment1,7431,600-143-8.2%
        Motor vehicles and parts999905-94-9.4%
        Furniture and related products386354-32-8.3%
        Miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing623593-30-4.8%
      Nondurable goods4,7944,570-224-4.7%
        Food manufacturing1,6551,605-50-3.0%
        Textile mills10791-16-14.6%
        Textile product mills111102-9-8.4%
        Paper and paper products364355-9-2.4%
        Printing and related support activities417360-57-13.6%
        Petroleum and coal products114104-10-9.1%
        Plastics and rubber products746726-20-2.7%
        Miscellaneous nondurable goods manufacturing324301-23-7.1%
    Private service-providing108,51399,037-9,476-8.7%
      Trade, transportation, and utilities27,83026,459-1,371-4.9%
        Wholesale trade5,9345,606-328-5.5%
          Durable goods3,2213,048-173-5.4%
          Nondurable goods2,1802,055-126-5.8%
          Electronic markets and agents and brokers533504-29-5.5%
        Retail trade15,67215,017-655-4.2%
          Motor vehicle and parts dealers2,0641,925-138-6.7%
            Automobile dealers1,3091,203-106-8.1%
            Other motor vehicle dealers166153-13-7.7%
            Auto parts, accessories, and tire stores589569-19-3.3%
          Furniture and home furnishings stores471407-64-13.5%
          Electronics and appliance stores475430-45-9.5%
          Building material and garden supply stores1,3091,389806.1%
          Food and beverage stores3,0903,126361.2%
          Health and personal care stores1,058971-88-8.3%
          Gasoline stations947918-29-3.1%
          Clothing and clothing accessories stores1,289917-372-28.9%
          Sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores550445-105-19.1%
          General merchandise stores3,0473,2181725.6%
            Department stores1,0791,051-27-2.5%
            General merchandise stores, including warehouse clubs and supercenters1,9682,16719910.1%
            Miscellaneous store retailers820724-97-11.8%
            Nonstore retailers551546-5-0.9%
        Transportation and warehousing5,6785,297-381-6.7%
          Air transportation511403-108-21.1%
          Rail transportation160145-15-9.1%
          Water transportation6555-10-14.9%
          Truck transportation1,5271,450-78-5.1%
          Transit and ground passenger transportation508348-160-31.5%
          Pipeline transportation5150-1-1.4%
          Scenic and sightseeing transportation3721-16-43.3%
          Support activities for transportation764681-83-10.9%
          Couriers and messengers848923768.9%
          Warehousing and storage1,2081,222141.1%
        Publishing industries, except Internet770734-36-4.7%
        Motion picture and sound recording industries456228-228-50.0%
        Broadcasting, except Internet263244-20-7.5%
        Data processing, hosting and related services350339-11-3.1%
        Other information services35435620.5%
      Financial activities8,8458,654-191-2.2%
        Finance and insurance6,4866,465-22-0.3%
          Monetary authorities - central bank192012.6%
          Credit intermediation and related activities2,6812,660-21-0.8%
          Depository credit intermediation1,7881,763-25-1.4%
            Commercial banking1,3941,377-17-1.2%
          Nondepository credit intermediation587585-2-0.3%
          Activities related to credit intermediation30531162.0%
        Securities, commodity contracts, investments, and funds and trusts96997010.1%
        Insurance carriers and related activities2,8182,816-2-0.1%
      Real estate and rental and leasing2,3592,189-169-7.2%
        Real estate1,7501,689-61-3.5%
        Rental and leasing services585477-107-18.4%
        Lessors of nonfinancial intangible assets2423-1-2.5%
    Professional and business services21,55020,075-1,475-6.8%
      Professional and technical services9,7089,336-372-3.8%
        Legal services1,1631,108-55-4.7%
        Accounting and bookkeeping services1,0381,011-28-2.6%
        Architectural and engineering services1,5401,484-56-3.6%
        Specialized design services145133-13-8.6%
        Computer systems design and related services2,2532,166-86-3.8%
        Management and technical consulting services1,5611,499-62-4.0%
        Scientific research and development services75074900.0%
        Advertising and related services493443-49-10.0%
        Other professional and technical services766744-23-3.0%
      Management of companies and enterprises2,4472,338-110-4.5%
      Administrative and waste services9,3958,401-994-10.6%
        Administrative and support services8,9287,949-979-11.0%
          Office administrative services530506-24-4.5%
          Facilities support services164156-8-5.1%
          Employment services3,6503,099-551-15.1%
            Temporary help services2,9402,468-472-16.1%
          Business support services869774-95-11.0%
          Travel arrangement and reservation services223156-66-29.7%
          Investigation and security services970907-63-6.5%
          Services to buildings and dwellings2,1792,050-129-5.9%
          Other support services342301-42-12.2%
        Waste management and remediation services467452-15-3.3%
      Education and health services24,58623,129-1,457-5.9%
        Educational services3,8293,530-299-7.8%
        Health care and social assistance20,75819,599-1,159-5.6%
        Health care16,50715,792-715-4.3%
          Ambulatory health care services7,8557,482-373-4.7%
            Offices of physicians2,7232,619-104-3.8%
            Offices of dentists977939-38-3.9%
            Offices of other health practitioners988893-95-9.6%
            Outpatient care centers980946-35-3.5%
            Medical and diagnostic laboratories290275-15-5.2%
            Home health care services1,5721,506-66-4.2%
            Other ambulatory health care services325304-22-6.6%
          Nursing and residential care facilities3,3913,162-229-6.8%
            Nursing care facilities1,5921,469-123-7.8%
            Residential mental health facilities653620-33-5.1%
            Community care facilities for the elderly978915-63-6.4%
            Other residential care facilities168158-10-5.8%
        Social assistance4,2513,807-443-10.4%
          Individual and family services2,7002,519-181-6.7%
          Emergency and other relief services186182-4-2.0%
          Vocational rehabilitation services326282-45-13.7%
          Child day care services1,039825-214-20.6%
      Leisure and hospitality16,86712,728-4,139-24.5%
        Arts, entertainment, and recreation2,4721,603-870-35.2%
          Performing arts and spectator sports512276-236-46.0%
          Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions175127-48-27.5%
          Amusements, gambling, and recreation1,7861,199-586-32.8%
        Accommodation and food services14,39411,126-3,269-22.7%
          Food services and drinking places12,3039,815-2,488-20.2%
      Other services5,9415,410-531-8.9%
        Repair and maintenance1,3791,312-67-4.8%
        Personal and laundry services1,5371,249-288-18.7%
        Membership associations and organizations3,0262,849-177-5.9%
      Federal, except U.S. Postal Service2,2652,56129613.1%
      U.S. Postal Service60260200.0%
    State government5,1994,981-218-4.2%
      State government education2,4902,285-205-8.2%
      State government, excluding education2,7092,697-13-0.5%
    Local government14,67913,770-909-6.2%
      Local government education8,0427,580-462-5.7%
      Local government, excluding education6,6376,190-447-6.7%

About the authors

Curtis Dubay

Curtis Dubay

Chief Economist, U.S Chamber of Commerce

Curtis Dubay is Chief Economist, Economic Policy Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He heads the Chamber’s research on the U.S. and global economies.

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