According to the Employment Situation for December 2017 reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 148,000 in December and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1% for the third consecutive month.
Employment growth has averaged 171,000 per month in 2017, compared with the average monthly growth of 187,000 over all of 2016. The unemployment rate was at the lowest level since 2001, as shown in the figure below.
Monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicate that construction added 30,000 jobs in December, after a 27,000 increase in November. The November increase was revised from its original estimate of a 24,000 increase.
Meanwhile, residential construction employment rose by 18,200 in December, after a 13,700 increase last month. The November increase was revised from its original estimate of a 14,800 increase. Residential construction employment is now 2.75 million, broken down as 781,000 builders and 1.97 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 9,917 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers have added 86,400 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 769,800 positions.
In December, the unemployment rate for construction workers declined to 5.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 5.6% in November. After reaching a peak rate of 22% in February 2010, the unemployment rate for the construction sector has been steadily declining and remains historically low.