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Economic News

  • Fri, February 01, 2019 2:37 PM | CIRT News (Administrator)

    The Department of Labor employment numbers showed remarkable strength notwithstanding the partial federal government shutdown for the first month of 2019, with January’s release indicating a robust 304,000 new jobs; nearly identical to the December ’18 level. (It is generally accepted that it takes approximately 130-150,000 new jobs per month just to absorb the expanding workforce).  Non-seasonally adjusted figures for construction revealed unemployment at 6.4 percent [up (1.3 basis points) with the seasonal winter slowdown vs. December ‘18 figure; but it was down (0.9 basis points) from a year ago in January 2018 when it stood at 7.3%]. The construction industry added approximately 52,000 employees to its rolls in January.

    Overall unemployment moved-up 0.1 basis points to 4.0 percent driven in large measure by the 175,000 federal employees counted as temporarily unemployed.  (As a result “unemployed persons” jumped to 6.5 million per the government count).  The “labor force participation” rate increased 0.1 basis points to 63.2 percent. [This stat measures percentage of the eligible civilians in the labor force. At the end of the recession (June ’09) this rate stood at a healthier 65.7%.  NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate works inversely to the overall unemployment figures, meaning: as it deteriorates, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer viewed/counted as unemployed by the DOL)].  The “employment to population ratio” also increased 0.1 basis points to 60.7 percent. The average hourly earnings for employees increased to start off 2019, a trend sustained over the last year.

    You can view the current and historical Workforce Statistics charts here.

  • Fri, January 04, 2019 5:05 PM | Mark Casso (Administrator)

    The Department of Labor’s final numbers for 2018 included in their December release signaled very good news with an increase of 312,000 jobs for the month on the heels of updated increases for both Oct. and Nov. (it is generally accepted that it takes approximately 130-150,000 new jobs per month just to absorb the expanding workforce).  Non-seasonally adjusted figures for construction revealed unemployment at 5.1 percent [up (1.2 basis points) as the seasonal winter slowdown took hold vs. November’s figure; but it was down (0.9 basis points) from a year ago in December 2017 when it stood at 5.9%]. For the year, the construction industry added approximately 280,000 employees to its rolls.

    Overall unemployment moved-up 0.2 basis points (matching precisely the up-tick in labor force participation) from its 50-year low to 3.9 percent. (“Unemployed persons” jumped to 6.3 million as the government counts).  The “labor force participation” rate increased 0.2 basis points to 63.1 percent. [This stat measures percentage of the eligible civilians in the labor force. At the end of the recession (June ’09) this rate stood at a healthier 65.7%.  NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate works inversely to the overall unemployment figures, meaning: as it deteriorates, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer viewed as unemployed by the DOL)].  The “employment to population ratio” held constant at 60.6 percent. The average hourly earnings for employees increased in 2018 at a 3.2 percent clip (the first time over three percent in nearly a decade).

    You can view the current and historical Workforce Statistics charts here.


  • Fri, December 07, 2018 5:04 PM | Mark Casso (Administrator)

    The Department of Labor’s “Pearl Harbor Day” release for November 2018 employment indicated continued good news with an increase of 155,000 new jobs for the month (the generally accepted estimate is that it takes approximately 130-150,000 new jobs per month just to absorb the expanding workforce).  Non-seasonally adjusted figures for construction showed unemployment at only 3.9 percent [up slightly (0.3 basis points) as wintry weather set in vs. October’s figure; but down (1.1 basis points) from a year ago in November 2017 when it stood at 5.0%]. For the year, the construction industry has added approximately 330,000 employees to its rolls.

    Overall unemployment stayed at a nearly 50-year low of only 3.7 percent for a third month in a row. (“Unemployed persons” slipped to 6.0 million as the government counts).  The “labor force participation” rate held steady at 62.9 percent. [This stat measures percentage of the eligible civilians in the labor force. At the end of the recession (June ’09) this rate stood at a healthier 65.7%.  NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate works inversely to the overall unemployment figures, meaning: as it deteriorates, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer viewed as unemployed by the DOL)].  The “employment to population ratio” also held constant at 60.6 percent.   The increase of 3.1 percent (first time over three precent in nearly a decade) in the average hourly earnings employees are enjoying also held firm.


    You can view the current and historical Workforce Statistics charts here.


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