The Department of Labor’s “Pearl Harbor Day” release for November 2018 employment indicated continued good news with an increase of 155,000 new jobs for the month (the generally accepted estimate is that it takes approximately 130-150,000 new jobs per month just to absorb the expanding workforce). Non-seasonally adjusted figures for construction showed unemployment at only 3.9 percent [up slightly (0.3 basis points) as wintry weather set in vs. October’s figure; but down (1.1 basis points) from a year ago in November 2017 when it stood at 5.0%]. For the year, the construction industry has added approximately 330,000 employees to its rolls.
Overall unemployment stayed at a nearly 50-year low of only 3.7 percent for a third month in a row. (“Unemployed persons” slipped to 6.0 million as the government counts). The “labor force participation” rate held steady at 62.9 percent. [This stat measures percentage of the eligible civilians in the labor force. At the end of the recession (June ’09) this rate stood at a healthier 65.7%. NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate works inversely to the overall unemployment figures, meaning: as it deteriorates, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer viewed as unemployed by the DOL)]. The “employment to population ratio” also held constant at 60.6 percent. The increase of 3.1 percent (first time over three precent in nearly a decade) in the average hourly earnings employees are enjoying also held firm.
You can view the current and historical Workforce Statistics charts here.