Job Growth Slowed in July


In July, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 164,000, while the unemployment rate held at 3.7%. Residential construction employment increased by 7,400 in July, after an increase of 5,000 jobs in June. The total construction industry (both residential and nonresidential) employment was about 7.5 million in July.

According to the Employment Situation Summary for July, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 164,000, following an increase of 193,000 jobs in June. The June increase was revised downward from its original estimate of a 224,000 gain. Monthly employment growth has averaged 165,000 per month for the first seven 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 2.2 million, with the average monthly growth of 187,000.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% in July. It was the seventeenth consecutive month at or below 4%. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate, the proportion of the population either looking for a job or already with a job, ticked up by 0.1 percentage points to 63.0% in July. The number of persons unemployed was little changed at 6.1 million and the number of persons employed increased by 283,000 in July. As a result, the labor force participation rate was little changed in July.

Additionally, monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that employment in the overall construction sector increased by 4,000 in July. The number of residential construction jobs rose by 7,400 in July, following an increase of 5,000 jobs in June.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.9 million in July, broken down as 833,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 2,717 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 80,400 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 930,200 positions.

In July, the unemployment rate for construction workers rose to 5.1% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 5.0% in June. The unemployment rate for the construction sector has been trending downwards since February 2010 and remains historically low.


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