December job numbers increased some 223,000 new positions according to the latest Labor Department figures. (Above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics). The non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment was 4.4 percent in December, consistent with seasonal work trends. [The new figure is up 0.5 basis points vs. Nov. ‘22 level; while being down by 0.6 points from last December 2021]. Employment in construction increased by 28,000 in December, as specialty trade contractors added 17,000 jobs; resulting in an average of 19,000 per month in 2022, little different than the average of 16,000 per month in 2021.
The general unemployment fell 0.2 to 3.5 percent. (“Unemployed persons” was reported at 5.7 million per the government count). The “labor force participation rate” improved to 62.3 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 counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” experienced a small increase to 60.1 percent. [Both measures haven’t reached their pre-Covid levels yet]. Average hourly earnings have stalled after months of steady rises, now standing at $28.07 for private sector production and nonsupervisory employees.
SEE Workforce Statistics Chart.