The September employment numbers continued to move upward in BLS’s latest report, however the growth seems to have plateaued at 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 August, consistent with summer seasonal work trends. [Essentially, the new unemployment figure is the same vs. July, and last year -- August 2022]. Construction employment continued to trend up in August (+22,000), in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months (+17,000). Within the industry sectors, employment momentum continues in specialty trade contractors (+11,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+7,000).
General unemployment went up by 0.3 points to 3.8 percent. (“Unemployed persons” was up by 0.6 to 6.4 million per the government count). The “labor force participation rate” increased by 0.2 points to 62.8 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” stayed constant at 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 $29.00 for private sector production and nonsupervisory employees. SEE Workforce Statistics Chart.