Job gains continued in April, despite rising interest rates and a slowing economy. After a revised 165,000 job gain in March, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 253,000 in April, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.4% from 3.5% in March. In April, on a year-over-year basis, wage growth increased slightly to 4.4% from 4.3% last month, but down compared to a 5.8% gain in April 2022.
Construction industry employment (both residential and non-residential) totaled 7.9 million and exceeds its February 2020 level. While residential construction added 14,200 jobs, non-residential construction employment gained 800 jobs in April. Residential construction employment exceeds its level in February 2020, while all non-residential construction jobs lost in March and April 2020 have now been recovered.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 253,000 in April, following a gain of 165,000 in March, as reported in the Employment Situation Summary. The estimates for the previous two months were revised lower. The estimate for February was revised down by 78,000 from +326,000 to +248,000, while the March increase was revised down by 71,000, from +236,000 to +165,000. Despite tight monetary policy, over 4.7 million jobs have been created since March 2022, when the Fed enacted the first interest rate hike.
The unemployment rate edged down to 3.4% in April. The number of employed persons increased by 139,000, while the number of unemployed persons decreased by 182,000.
Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate, the proportion of the population either looking for a job or already holding a job, was unchanged at 62.6% in April. Moreover, the labor force participation rate for people who aged between 25 and 54 rose to 83.3%. While the overall labor force participation rate is still below its pre-pandemic levels at the beginning of 2020, the rate for people who aged between 25 and 54 exceeds the pre-pandemic level of 83.1%.
For industry sectors, employment in professional and business services (+43,000), health care (+40,000), and leisure and hospitality (+31,000) continued to trend up in April.
Employment in the overall construction sector increased by 15,000 in April, following an 11,000 loss in March. While residential construction added 14,200 jobs, non-residential construction employment gained 800 jobs in April.
Residential construction employment now stands at 3.3 million in April, broken down as 930,000 builders and 2.3 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction was 1,583 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 57,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 1,279,800 positions.
In April, the unemployment rate for construction workers decreased by 0.8 percentage points to 3.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate for construction workers has been trending lower, after reaching 14.2% in April 2020, due to the housing demand impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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