In August, jobs increased by 201,000 and the unemployment rate remained at 3.9%. Employment in residential construction continued to trend up.
Over the month of August, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 201,000, after the increase of 147,000 jobs in July, according to the Employment Situation reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The July increase was revised down from its original estimate of a 170,000 increase. Job gains have averaged 207,000 a month this year, faster than the first eight months’ averages of 189,000 in 2017 and 199,000 in 2016.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9% in August. In August, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 46,000 while the number of employed persons declined by 423,000. Moreover, the decrease in the numbers of individuals in the labor force (-469,000) and the increase in those not in the labor force (+692,000) contributed to the drop in the labor force participation rate in August.
Monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that the number of residential construction jobs rose by 12,900 in August, after the 6,800 increase in July.
Residential construction employment now stands at 2.83 million in August, broken down as 802,000 builders and 2 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 5,383 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers have added 136,600 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 851,700 positions.
In August, the unemployment rate for construction workers dropped to 4.0% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from the 4.4% in July. The unemployment rate for construction workers dropped to the lowest rate since 2001, as show in the figure above.