Saturday, August 08, 2020

State and Local Education Employment in August

by Calculated Risk on 8/08/2020 01:39:00 PM

There is a seasonal pattern to state and local education employment. A large number of educators are hired in late Summer or early Fall - at the beginning of the school year - and then let go in June and July. Due to the pandemic, many of these educators were let go earlier than usual this year.

This led to a weird quirk in the seasonal adjustment  for July. Although there were 960,000 state and local education jobs lost in July NSA (Not Seasonally Adjusted), this was reported as a gain of 245,000 jobs (SA). This was fewer jobs added (SA) than I expected, but it was difficult to tell how many year-round jobs had been lost. Now we know.

The following table shows the number of year-round and seasonal state and local education jobs for February and July.

State and Local Education Employment NSA (000s)
MonthYear RoundSeasonalTotalNet Jobs NSANet Jobs SA

All of the seasonal jobs have been let go (my estimate is around 2 million), and about 635,000 year-round jobs have been lost.

Usually we'd expect about 415,000 seasonal jobs hired in August.  However, since many school districts are delaying the opening of the school year, my guess is few of these seasonal jobs will be filled in August.

Also, since the BLS reference week for August starts tomorrow (August 9th to the 15th), it is unlikely that any disaster relief for state and local governments will be available this week.

The BLS model will expect about 415,000 seasonal jobs added in August.  If only a few jobs are added, the model could report 400,000+ jobs lost in August (SA).   In addition, state and local governments may need to make further cuts to year-round employment in August.

So my initial guess is the BLS will report 400,000 to 500,000 state and local education jobs lost in August (SA).