Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in April, while the unemployment rate declined to 3.6%. Residential construction employment increased by 600 in April, after the increase of 11,200 jobs in March. The total construction industry (both residential and nonresidential) gained 33,000 jobs in April.
According to the Employment Situation Summary for April, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 263,000, following the increase of 189,000 jobs in March. The March increase was revised downward from its original estimate of a 196,000 increase. Monthly employment growth has averaged 205,000 per month for the first four 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 2.6 million, with the average monthly growth of 218,000.
The unemployment rate declined to 3.6% in April, the lowest rate since December 1969. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate, the proportion of the population either looking for a job or already with a job, declined by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8% in April. The decline in the labor force participation rate was caused by the increase in the number of persons not in the labor force and the decrease in the number of total labor force. The decrease in the number of total labor force reflected both a 103,000 decrease in the number of persons employed and a 387,000 decline in the number of persons unemployed over the month.
Additionally, monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that employment in the overall construction sector increased by 33,000 in April. The number of residential construction jobs rose by 600 in April, following an 11,200 increase in March.
Residential construction employment now stands at 2.9 million in April, broken down as 834,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 5,250 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 92,800 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 916,800 positions.
In April, the unemployment rate for construction workers rose to 4.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 3.9% in March. The unemployment rate for the construction sector has been trending downwards since February 2010 and remains historically low.