The latest Labor Department job numbers showed a significant increase of 266,000 for the month of November. (A level well above the generally accepted range of approximately 130-150,000 new jobs per month to absorb the expanding workforce). Non-seasonally adjusted figures for construction showed unemployment moved up to 4.4 percent with the onset of colder weather [an increase of 0.4 basis point from October, as well as being up 0.5 basis points from a year ago in November 2018 when it stood at 3.9%]. During the month, the construction industry employment remained steady, while unemployment ticked-up to 428,000.
The new unemployment figure of 3.5 percent pushed record 50-year lows. (“Unemployed persons” went down one-tenth to 5.8 million per the government count). The “labor force participation” rate also slipped one-tenth to 63.2 percent. [NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate 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 viewed/counted as unemployed by the DOL)]. The “employment to population ratio” stayed the same at 61.0 percent. Average hourly earnings for employees improved/increased at 3.1% (over the last 12-months).
SEE Workforce Statistics Table here.