Job Gains Accelerate in July

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Total payroll employment rose by 943,000, and the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 5.4% in July. Both residential and nonresidential construction showed modest job gains of 8,300 and 2,900, respectively, climbing to a total employment of 7.4 million. NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz discusses the jobs report on Twitter: Currently, residential construction employment exceeds its level in February 2020 and now stands at 3 million, comprising 883,000 builders and 2.2 million residential specialty trade contractors. However, only 56% of nonresidential construction jobs lost in March and April have been recovered. In July, the unemployment rate for construction declined to 7.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate for construction workers has been trending lower, after reaching 14.1% in April 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation's overall unemployment rate declined by 0.5% to 5.4% in July — down 9.4% from the April 2020 rate (14.8%), and 1.9% higher than the unemployment rate in February 2020. Jing Fu, NAHB director of forecasting and analysis, provides more details — including a breakdown of employment by industry — in this Eye on Housing blog post.

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