In the tenth month of 2018, total employment increased by 250,000 and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%, suggesting a very strong job market. Residential construction employment increased by 16,600 in October and has risen by 143,500 over the last 12 months.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 250,000, following the increase of 118,000 jobs in September, according to the Employment Situation reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The September increase was revised down from its original estimate of a 134,000 increase. Job gains have averaged 213,000 a month in 2018, faster than the first ten months’ averages of 180,000 in 2017 and 199,000 in 2016.
In October, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%, the lowest level since 2001, as shown in the figure above. In October, both the numbers of employed and unemployed persons increased. The number of employed persons increased by 600,000, while the number of unemployed persons increased by 111,000. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 62.9% in October. The increase in the number of individuals in the labor force (+711,000) and the decrease in the number of individuals not in the labor force (-487,000) reflected the increase in the labor force participation rate in October.
Monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that the number of residential construction jobs rose by 16,600 in October, more than three times of the 5,000 increase in September.
Residential construction employment now stands at 2.86 million in October, broken down as 803,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 9,267 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers have added 143,500 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 873,500 positions.
In October, the unemployment rate for construction workers declined to 4.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from the 5.0% in September. The unemployment rate for the construction sector has been trending downwards since February 2010 and remains historically low.