Rebounding off the dreadful numbers from a month ago, May employment expanded at an unprecedented (and unexpected) historic 2.5 million jobs according the latest Labor Department figures. Construction non-seasonally adjusted levels saw some improvement with unemployment sliding back to 12.7 percent [a drop of 390 basis points from April, but still up 950 basis points from a year ago in May 2019 when it stood at nearly full-employment of only 3.2%]. Employment in the construction industry grew by 464,000 positions in May, approximately cutting in half the recent losses that had mounted to a painful 995.000.
The overall unemployment figure came down from its record level, registering a still very high 13.3 percent, yet down 140 basis points in a month. (“Unemployed persons” also fell 2.1 million to a total of 21.0 million per the government count). The “labor force participation” rate also improved to 60.8 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” rose to 52.8 percent. Average hourly earnings for employees remains high at $25.00 due mostly to the fact lower wage earners remain out of work in market segments still in full or partial shutdowns by government orders.
SEE the CIRT Workforce Statistics Chart