The workforce rebound continued in October with jobs expanding by 906,000 thousand according the latest Labor Department figures. Construction non-seasonally adjusted levels also improved with unemployment decreasing to 6.8 percent [a drop of 0.3 percentage points from September, but still up 2.8 percentage points from a year ago in October 2019 when it stood at 4.0%]. Construction added 84,000 jobs in October: Specialty trade contractors added jobs, both in the nonresidential (+28,000) and residential (+18,000) components. Employment also rose in heavy and civil engineering construction and in construction of buildings (+19,000 each). Construction has added 789,000 jobs in the last 6 months, but employment is down by 294,000 since February.
The overall unemployment figure dropped to 6.9 percent, a reduction of a full (1.0) percent in just one month, while tumbling 7.8 percent in six months since its peak in April. (“Unemployed persons” also fell 1.5 million to a total of 11.1 million per the government count). The “labor force participation” rate increase to 61.7 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)]. The “employment to population ratio” rose 0.8 points to 57.4 percent. Average hourly earnings for employees was reported roughly constant at $24.81, fairly high due mostly to the fact lower wage earners remain out of work in market segments still in partial government mandated shutdowns.
SEE Workforce Statistics Chart