Labor Dept: Banking Jobs Declined in 2021
Employment in America rose by 6.7 million last year, the largest calendar-year gain since the federal government began its Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey.
That’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released employment figures Friday (May 27) showing some industries reaching or exceeding their pre-COVID numbers.
Among the sectors that lost jobs? Commercial banking, a decline that the BLS attributes to the pandemic and the rise of digital banking.
Overall, employment in the financial sector grew by 142,000 last year, closing the year just 7,000 jobs under its pre-pandemic level.
Much of that growth was in the real estate (71,000 jobs); securities, commodity contracts, investments, funds and trusts (41,000 jobs); and rental and leasing (36,000 jobs).
Meanwhile, non-depository credit intermediation and activities related to credit intermediation added jobs (a respective 22,000 and 12,000), while commercial banking shed 33,000 jobs.
“The employment decline in commercial banking likely reflects the impact of growth in digital banking and the continuing effects of pandemic-related closures of bank branches,” the BLS said in its report.
As PYMNTS reported recently, closures of retail bank branches in the U.S. last year surpassed those from 2020, hitting a new high.
Banks in the U.S. closed 2,927 branches in 2021, up 38% from the previous year when 2,126 bank branches closed their doors. By compassion, only 1,417 branches shut down in 2019.
This is happening as 84% of banking customers say they plan to stick to the same level of digital banking activity even as the pandemic subsides.
Meanwhile, the BLS said three sectors — professional and business services, transportation and warehousing, and information — reached their pre-pandemic employment levels and then surpassed them last year.
Professional and business services grew by 1.1 million in 2021, compared to a pre-pandemic level of 428,000 jobs. Transportation and warehousing added 432,000 jobs, while information added 194,000 jobs.