The U.S. job market had a positive October, with nonfarm payrolls rising more than expected and the unemployment rate decreasing to 4.6%, according to the latest jobs report from the Labor Department.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 531,000 for the month and the jobless rate is expected to slow down to 4.7%.
Construction employment increased by 44,000 in October, after September’s increase of 30,000. In October, employment increased in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+19,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+12,000).
Construction is still lagging, with employment 150,000 below its February 2020 level.
“The job market continues to make progress in October with 531,000 net new jobs. Since coming out of lockdown 18 million jobs have been created, but total jobs are still 4 million below the level seen before the arrival of COVID-19,” said Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, in a statement. “The unemployment rate is low, at 4.6%. However, 3 million fewer Americans are searching for jobs and they are not being captured in unemployment statistics. Some older workers may have decided to permanently retire early.
“Employment at rental-leasing companies rose by 6,900. Boosting the supply of homes requires more construction workers and while 12,000 additional were working in home building or as contractors, more are clearly needed. There are worker shortages everywhere: at construction sites, at warehouses, at restaurants, at factories, and on and on,” Yun added. “Small businesses with thin margins are finding it especially difficult to hire as they cannot readily compete with higher wages. The only notable exception is in REALTOR® membership, which is hitting new highs with each passing month. It is a tough and fiercely competitive market with innumerable alternative business models. Naturally, some will not make it past five years in the business. Yet, the entrepreneurial spirit lives on in taking on the risks and reaping the rewards.”