Nearly 24,000 Residential Construction Jobs Added in January

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Last month, residential construction saw the greatest gain in employment since February 2018, following strong growth in December. Jobs rose by nearly 24,000 in January to a total of 2.9 million residential construction jobs, comprising 835,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors. Unemployment in residential construction rose slightly to 4.7% from 4.6% in December, but remains historically low. Since the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 916,600 jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment in the overall construction industry rose by 52,000. Total nonfarm employment increased by 304,000, compared to a monthly average of 223,000 in 2018 and 241,000 for the revised three months prior. The government shutdown did contribute to a slight increase in overall unemployment, which rose to 4%, but BLS noted minimal impact on estimates of employment, hours and earnings. For its survey, federal employees who worked, were paid or will receive pay for the pay period including Jan. 12 were considered employed. Other employees, including federal contractors, who did not work or receive pay during the shutdown were counted as unemployed on temporary layoff. Read more from NAHB economist Jing Fu on Eye on Housing.

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