The newest Labor Department job numbers indicate a solid start to 2020, with an increase of 225,000 for the month of January. (It is generally accepted that a range of approximately 130-150,000 new jobs per month is needed to absorb the expanding workforce). Non-seasonally adjusted figures for construction showed unemployment moved up to 5.4 percent [an increase of 0.4 basis point from December, BUT down a full 1.0 basis point from a year ago in January 2019 when it stood at 6.4%]. In the first month of 2020, employment in the construction industry expanded by about 20,000 positions.
The overall unemployment figure adjusted to 3.6 percent, which is near the record 50-year low. (“Unemployed persons” remained at 5.8 million per the government count). The “labor force participation” rate also held 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” also stayed the same at 61.0 percent. Average hourly earnings for employees again improved/increased at 2.9% (over the last 12-months).
SEE the Workforce Statistics Table.