Unemployment Falls to 3.5% in September


The job market is slowing but still showing solid gains as total employment increased by 136,000 and the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points to 3.5%.

Residential construction employment increased by 3,400 in September, after an increase of 100 jobs in August (revised). Total construction industry (both residential and nonresidential) employment totaled about 7.5 million in September.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Employment Situation Summary for September. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 136,000 in September, following an increase of 168,000 jobs in August.

The previous two months’ gains were revised higher. The August increase was revised upward from an initial estimate of 130,000 to 168,000, while the July increase was revised upward from 159,000 to 166,000. Monthly employment growth has averaged 161,000 per month for the first nine 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 179,000.

In September, the unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 3.5%. It was the lowest rate since December 1969. Over the month, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 275,000 to 5.8 million and the number of employed persons increased by 391,000. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate, the proportion of the population either looking for a job or already with a job, was unchanged at 63.2% in September.

Additionally, monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that employment in the overall construction sector increased by 7,000 in September. The number of residential construction jobs rose by 3,400 in September, following an increase of 100 jobs in August.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.9 million in September, 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 2,633 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 60,300 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 930,300 positions.

In September, the unemployment rate for construction workers declined to 3.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 4.3% in August. The unemployment rate for the construction sector has been trending downwards since February 2010 and remains historically low.

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1 reply

  1. Considering the huge number of current jobs employers are unable to fill, is it any wonder that job creation is starting to decline? Why would employers add more jobs and further drive up their labor costs?

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