U.S. Employment Trends

U.S. Gross Job Gains 7.5 Million and Gross Job Losses 7.1 Million in the 4th Quarter of 2016

In the fourth quarter of 2016, gross job gains from opening and expanding private-sector establishments were 7.5 million. Gross job losses from closing and contracting private-sector establishments were 7.1 million.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT DYNAMICS – FOURTH QUARTER 2016

From September 2016 to December 2016, gross job gains from opening and expanding private-sector 
establishments were 7.5 million, a decrease of 185,000 jobs over the quarter, the U.S. Bureau of Labor 
Statistics reported today. Over this period, gross job losses from closing and contracting private-sector 
establishments were 7.1 million, an increase of 127,000 jobs from the previous quarter. The difference 
between the number of gross job gains and the number of gross job losses yielded a net employment 
gain of 376,000 jobs in the private-sector during the fourth quarter of 2016. (See tables A and 1.) 

The change in the number of jobs over time is the net result of increases and decreases in employment 
that occur at all private businesses in the economy. Business Employment Dynamics (BED) statistics 
track these changes in employment at private-sector establishments from the third month of one quarter 
to the third month of the next. The difference between the number of gross job gains and the number of 
gross job losses is the net change in employment. (See Technical Note.) The BED data series include 
gross job gains and gross job losses by industry subsector, for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, 
Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, as well as gross job gains and gross job losses at the firm level by 
employer size class.

Gross Job Gains

In the fourth quarter of 2016, gross job gains represented 6.2 percent of private-sector employment. 
Gross job gains are the sum of increases in employment due to expansions at existing establishments and 
the addition of new jobs at opening establishments. Gross job gains at expanding establishments totaled 
6.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, a decrease of 191,000 compared to the previous quarter. 
Opening establishments accounted for 1.4 million of the jobs gained in the fourth quarter of 2016, an 
increase of 6,000 jobs from the previous quarter. (See tables A, 1, 2, and 3.)

Gross Job Losses

In the fourth quarter of 2016, gross job losses represented 5.8 percent of private-sector employment. 
Gross job losses are the result of contractions in employment at existing establishments and the loss of 
jobs at closing establishments. Contracting establishments lost 5.7 million jobs in the fourth quarter of 
2016, a decrease of 6,000 jobs from the prior quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2016, closing 
establishments lost 1.4 million jobs, an increase of 121,000 jobs from the previous quarter. (See tables 
A, 1, 2, and 3.)

Establishment Births and Deaths

In the fourth quarter of 2016, the number of establishment births (a subset of the openings data, see the 
Technical Note for more information) increased by 8,000, to a total of 246,000 establishments. These 
new establishments accounted for 919,000 jobs, an increase of 53,000 jobs from the previous quarter. 
Data for establishment deaths (a subset of the closings data) are available through the first quarter of 
2016, when 667,000 jobs were lost at 204,000 establishments. (See table 8.) 

Industries

Gross job gains exceeded gross job losses in 8 of 13 industries in the fourth quarter of 2016. The 
service-providing industries experienced a net job increase of 371,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2016. 
Within service-providing industries, transportation and warehousing had the largest over-the-quarter net 
job increase, with a gain of 154,000 jobs. The net job increase in transportation and warehousing was the 
result of 386,000 gross job gains and 232,000 gross job losses. The goods-producing industries 
experienced a net job increase of 5,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2016. Among the goods-producing 
industries, a net gain of 14,000 jobs in manufacturing and a net gain of 12,000 jobs in construction offset 
the 21,000 net job losses in natural resources and mining. (See table 3.)

 Table A. Three-month private sector gross job gains and losses, seasonally adjusted

-
                                          |                  3 months ended                 
                 Category                 |    Dec. |    Mar. |    June |   Sept. |    Dec.
                                          |    2015 |    2016 |    2016 |    2016 |    2016
-
                                          |              Levels (in thousands)              
                                          |--
 Gross job gains......................... |   7,843 |   6,977 |   7,463 |   7,650 |   7,465
        At expanding establishments...... |   6,375 |   5,778 |   6,056 |   6,207 |   6,016
        At opening establishments........ |   1,468 |   1,199 |   1,407 |   1,443 |   1,449
                                          |         |         |         |         |        
 Gross job losses........................ |   6,842 |   6,783 |   7,156 |   6,962 |   7,089
        At contracting establishments.... |   5,573 |   5,617 |   5,829 |   5,720 |   5,726
        At closing establishments........ |   1,269 |   1,166 |   1,327 |   1,242 |   1,363
                                          |         |         |         |         |        
 Net employment change (1)............... |   1,001 |     194 |     307 |     688 |     376
                                          |         |         |         |         |        
                                          |--
                                          |                 Rates (percent)                 
                                          |--
 Gross job gains......................... |     6.6 |     5.8 |     6.2 |     6.4 |     6.2
        At expanding establishments...... |     5.4 |     4.8 |     5.0 |     5.2 |     5.0
        At opening establishments........ |     1.2 |     1.0 |     1.2 |     1.2 |     1.2
                                          |         |         |         |         |        
 Gross job losses........................ |     5.8 |     5.7 |     6.0 |     5.8 |     5.8
        At contracting establishments.... |     4.7 |     4.7 |     4.9 |     4.8 |     4.7
        At closing establishments........ |     1.1 |     1.0 |     1.1 |     1.0 |     1.1
                                          |         |         |         |         |        
 Net employment change (1)............... |     0.8 |     0.1 |     0.2 |     0.6 |     0.4
-
(1) The net employment change is the difference between total gross job gains and total gross 
    job losses. See the Technical Note for further information.

Firm Size

In the fourth quarter of 2016, firms with 1-49 employees had a net employment gain of 68,000. Firms 
with 50-249 employees had a net employment gain of 47,000. Firms with 250 or more employees had a 
net employment gain of 201,000. Of the 1.5 million net jobs created over the last four quarters, firms 
with 1-49 employees contributed 29.4 percent of net job growth, while firms with 50-249 employees 
contributed 20.0 percent, and firms with 250 or more employees contributed 50.6 percent. (See tables 4 
and 5.)

States

Gross job gains exceeded gross job losses in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in the 
fourth quarter of 2016. Over this period, 25 states exceeded the U.S. rate of gross job gains as a percent 
of employment, which was 6.2 percent. Alaska had the highest rate of gross job gains as a percent of 
employment, at 9.6 percent. Alaska also had the highest rate of gross job losses as a percent of 
employment at 10.0 percent, above the national rate of 5.8 percent. Connecticut had the lowest rate of 
gross job gains as a percent of employment at 5.1 percent. Tennessee had the lowest rate of gross job 
losses as a percent of employment at 5.0 percent. (See tables 6 and 7.)

For More Information

Additional information on gross job gains and gross job losses is available online at www.bls.gov/bdm. 
This information includes data on the levels and rates of gross job gains and gross job losses by firm 
size, not seasonally adjusted data and other seasonally adjusted time series not presented in this release, 
charts of gross job gains and gross job losses by industry and firm size, and frequently asked questions 
on firm size data. Additional information about the Business Employment Dynamics data can be found 
in the Technical Note of this release or can be obtained by emailing BDMinfo@bls.gov. 


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|             Administrative Change Affecting Missouri Business Employment Dynamics (BED) Data             |
|                                                                                                          |
| Fourth quarter 2016 data were affected by an administrative change to the Missouri Unemployment          |
| Insurance (UI) tax system. This non-economic change has resulted in an increase in the tabulated         |
| number of establishment openings and closings as well as an increase in employment attributed to those   |
| openings and closings in the state, as reported by the Business Employment Dynamics statistics.          |
|                                                                                                          |
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|                           Revisions to Business Employment Dynamics (BED) Data                           |
|                                                                                                          |
| Data in the next release, published on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, will incorporate annual revisions    |
| to the BED series. Annual revisions are published each year with the release of first quarter data.      |
| These revisions will cover the last four quarters of not seasonally adjusted data and five years of      |
| seasonally adjusted data.                                                                                |
|                                                                                                          |
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