In August, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 130,000, while the unemployment rate stayed at 3.7%. Residential construction employment increased by 2,300 in August, after an increase of 4,900 jobs in July. The total construction industry (both residential and nonresidential) employment totaled about 7.5 million in August.
According to the Employment Situation Summary for August, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 130,000, following an increase of 159,000 jobs in July. Job growth in August was helped by hiring for the decennial Census.
The previous two months’ gains were revised lower. The July increase was revised downward from 164,000 to 159,000, while the June increase was revised downward from 193,000 to 178,000. Monthly employment growth has averaged 158,000 per month for the first eight months of 2019, compared with the average monthly growth of 223,000 over all of 2018. Over the past twelve months, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2.1 million, with the average monthly growth of 173,000.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% in August. It was the eighteenth consecutive month at or below 4%. The number of persons unemployed was little changed at 6.0 million and the number of persons employed increased by 590,000 in August. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate, the proportion of the population either looking for a job or already with a job, ticked up by 0.2 percentage points to 63.2% in August.
Additionally, monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that employment in the overall construction sector increased by 14,000 in August. The number of residential construction jobs rose by 2,300 in August, following an increase of 4,900 jobs in July.
Residential construction employment now stands at 2.9 million in August, broken down as 844,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 3,917 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 63,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 928,500 positions.
In August, the unemployment rate for construction workers declined to 4.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 5.1% in July. The unemployment rate for the construction sector has been trending downwards since February 2010 and remains historically low.