In the face of continued shutdowns, the workforce rebound continued in September with jobs expanding by 661,000 thousand according the latest Labor Department figures. Construction non-seasonally adjusted levels also improved with unemployment decreasing to 7.1 percent [a drop of 0.5 percentage points from July, but still up 3.9 percentage points from a year ago in September 2019 when it stood at near “full employment” of only 3.2%]. Employment in the construction industry is approximately 394,000 below February 2020, with the increase of 26,000 in construction/specialty positions, and another 13,000 in the design professions in September alone.
The overall unemployment figure continued to recede from its record crest in April, slipping to 7.9 percent, a reduction of another half (0.5) percent in just one month. (“Unemployed persons” also fell 1.0 million to a total of 12.6 million per the government count). The “labor force participation” rate slide down to 61.4 percent. [NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” 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)]. However, the “employment to population ratio” rose 0.1 points to 56.6 percent. Average hourly earnings for employees was reported constant at $24.79, fairly high due mostly to the fact lower wage earners remain out of work in market segments still in partial shutdowns by government orders.
SEE Workforce Statistics Chart