Employment numbers continued to move upward in BLS’s July 2023 report, however the increase has slowed to 187,000 new positions. (This figure is close to the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics). The non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rate came-in at 3.9 percent for July, consistent with summer seasonal work trends. [However, the new unemployment figure is worse by 0.3 basis points vs. June; while down 0.4 point from last year, in July 2022]. Construction employment continued to trend up in July (+19,000), in line with the average monthly gain of 17,000 in the prior 12 months. Over the month, job growth occurred mostly in residential specialty trade contractors (+13,000) and in nonresidential building construction (+11,000).
General unemployment slide 0.1 to 3.5 percent. (“Unemployed persons” was down slightly to 5.8 million per the government count). The “labor force participation rate” stayed at 62.6 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” rose 0.1 to 60.4 percent. [Both measures haven’t reached their pre-Covid levels yet; if people were actually seeking jobs, the unemployment rate would be approximately 5.0% ]. Average hourly earnings continue to increase, now standing at $28.96 for private sector production and nonsupervisory employees.
SEE Workforce Statistics Chart