Solid Employment Gains in November


According to the Employment Situation for November 2017 reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 228,000 in November and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%.

Employment growth has averaged 174,000 per month so far this year, 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 24,000 jobs in November, after a 10,000 increase in October. The October increase was revised down from its original estimate of an 11,000 increase.

Meanwhile, residential construction employment rose by 14,800 in November, after a 14,300 increase last month. The October increase was revised from its original estimate of a 13,300 increase. Residential construction employment is now 2.73 million, broken down as 771,000 builders and 1.96 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 7,617 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers have added 85,900 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 750,900 positions.

In November, the unemployment rate for construction workers rose to 5.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 5.0% in October. 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.

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