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Overall Employment Numbers Disappoint, But Construction Returning to Norms

Fri, September 03, 2021 12:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The job numbers remain choppy as they again failed to meet expectations with August reporting only 235,000 new positions according the latest Labor Department figures (still above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics).  However, the non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment saw marked improvement falling to 4.6 percent in August, a level more akin to August 2019 pre-pandemic numbers. [That is down some 1.5 basis points vs. July ’21 level; while being down by 3.0 points from the pandemic/shutdown induced 7.6% figure of last August 2020].  Construction employment overall was approximately 230,000 lower than in February 2020.

The overall unemployment figure slipped down (0.2) to 5.2 percent. (“Unemployed persons” also decreased to 8.4 million per the government count).  However, “labor force participation” remained at 61.7 percent. [NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” works inversely to the overall unemployment figures. Meaning: as it deteriorates/gets worse or smaller, 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” experienced a slight upward movement of 0.1 to 58.5 percent.  Average hourly earnings for employees again moved-up slightly to $25.99, confirming to some extent a possible trend to a higher norm in the post pandemic era, potentially due to a shortage of willing workers at this time. 

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