The latest Labor Department job numbers reconfirmed a strong finish to 2019, with an increase of 145,000 for the month of December. (A level at 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 5.0 percent with the onset of winter [an increase of 0.6 basis point from November, BUT down 0.1 basis point from a year ago in December 2018 when it stood at 5.1%]. During 2019, employment in the construction industry expanded by 151,000 positions.
The overall unemployment figure remained at 3.5 percent, or at record 50-year lows. (“Unemployed persons” went stayed at 5.8 million per the government count). The “labor force participation” rate also remained steady at 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 2.9% (over the last 12-months).
SEE Workforce Statistics.