The latest Department of Labor employment numbers seem to suggest the nation may have reached full-employment levels. February’s increase was only 20,000 new jobs (on the heels of a robust 304,000 in January), but the unemployment number dropped. (It is generally accepted that it takes approximately 130-150,000 new jobs per month just to absorb the expanding workforce). According to the National Federation of Independent Business, small business job creation broke a 45-year record in February. Non-seasonally adjusted figures for construction showed unemployment at 6.2 percent [down 0.2 basis points from January and a “whopping” 1.6 basis points lower than a year ago in February 2018 when it stood at 7.8%]. The construction industry has added a net 22,000 employees to its rolls since the beginning of the year.
Overall unemployment moved-down 0.2 basis points to 3.8 percent. (As a result “unemployed persons” dropped a substantial 300,000 to 6.2 million per the government count). The “labor force participation” rate remained constant at 63.2 percent; suggesting people are coming “off the sidelines” to rejoin the workforce. [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 remained steady at 60.7 percent. The average hourly earnings for employees has continued to increase in 2019, up some 3.4% already.
The Workforce Statistics Table can be found here.