BLS’s October 2023 report was somewhat “flat” falling back to only 150,000 new positions. (Within the 130-150,000 range estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics). The non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rate came-in at 4.0 percent for October, consistent seasonal slowing work trends. [The new unemployment figure is up by 0.2 basis points vs. September; while down just 0.1 point from last year’s October 2022 level]. In October, construction employment continued to trend up (+23,000), about in line with the average monthly gain of 18,000 over the prior 12 months. Most of the improvements in the month over month concentrated in specialty trade contractors (+14,000) and construction of buildings (+6,000).
General unemployment inched up 0.1 to 3.9 percent. (“Unemployed persons” was up slightly to 6.15 million per the government count). The “labor force participation rate” slipped to 62.7 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 counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” fell 0.2 to 60.2 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 $29.19 for private sector production and nonsupervisory employees.
SEE the Workforce Statistics Chart for data.