The Unemployment Rate Drops in July

According to the Employment Situation reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in July, jobs increased by 170,000 and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9%. The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.9%.

The release also indicates that the number of construction jobs rose by 19,000 in July, after the 13,000 increase in June. Residential construction employment was 2.82 million in July, broken down as 797,000 builders and 2 million residential specialty trade contractors.

Over the month of July, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 170,000, after the increase of 234,000 jobs in June. The June increase was revised down from its original estimate of a 244,000 increase. Job gains have averaged 214,000 a month this year, faster than the first seven months’ averages of 184,000 in 2017 and 181,000 in 2016.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.9% in July, 0.1 percentage point lower than the rate in June. In July, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 284,000 while the number of employed persons increased by 389,000. The decrease in the number of unemployed persons and the increase in the number of employed persons together accounted for the drop in the unemployment rate in July. Moreover, the numbers of individuals in the labor force (+105,000) and those not in the labor force (+96,000) increased in July. As a result, the labor force participation rate remained the same.

Monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that the number of construction jobs rose by 19,000 in July, after the 13,000 increase in June.

Residential construction employment was 2.82 million in July, broken down as 797,000 builders and 2 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 9,450 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers have added 139,300 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 841,500 positions.

In July, the unemployment rate for construction workers dropped to 4.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from the 5.6% in June. The unemployment rate for construction workers dropped to the lowest rate since 2001, as show in the figure above.

 



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