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End of Year Employment Entrenched in December

Mon, January 08, 2024 12:42 PM | Anonymous

BLS’s December 2023 report showed an increase of 216,000 new positions. (Comfortably above the 130-150,000 range estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics). However, the non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment rate came-in at 4.4 percent for December. [The new unemployment figure is down 0.4 basis points vs. November; but the same as in December 2022].  In December, construction employment continued to trend up (+17,000); with nonresidential building construction having increased by 8,000. For the year, construction added an average of 16,000 jobs per month in 2023, down from the 2022 average monthly gain of 22,000.
The holiday season didn’t seem to impact the general unemployment level, with it remaining unchanged at 3.7 percent. (Similarly, “unemployed persons” was the same at 6.3 million per the government count). The “labor force participation rate” slipped 0.3 basis points to 62.5 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” also dropped 0.3 to 60.1 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 continued to increase, now stands at $29.42 for private sector production and nonsupervisory employees. 

SEE Workforce Statistics Chart for comparisons.

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