After a big job gain last month, hiring slowed in November. Total employment increased by 155,000 and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%. Residential construction employment increased by 7,900 in November. The industry has added 205,000 jobs since 2017.
According to the Employment Situation for November released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 155,000, slower than the downwardly revised increase of 237,000 jobs in October. The November increase was lower than an average monthly gain of 209,000 over the past 12 months. Job gains have averaged 206,000 a month in 2018, faster than the first eleven months’ averages of 183,000 in 2017 and 197,000 in 2016.
The unemployment rate was 3.7% in November for the third consecutive month, holding at its lowest level since 2001. The number of employed persons increased by 233,000, while the number of unemployed persons was barely changed. In November, the labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 62.9%. The increase in labor force largely reflected the increase in the number of employed persons.
Monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that employment in the overall construction sector was little changed in November. The number of residential construction jobs rose by 7,900 in November, less than a 13,400 increase in October.
Residential construction employment now stands at 2.86 million in November, broken down as 813,000 builders and 2.0 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 7,633 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers have added 127,900 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 876,200 positions.
In November, the unemployment rate for construction workers rose to 4.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from the 4.1% in October. The unemployment rate for the construction sector has been trending downwards since February 2010 and remains historically low.