Unemployment rate holds steady at 3.5%

The annual numbers are in, and construction added far fewer jobs in 2019.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The national unemployment rate continued its historical-low run with a December reading of 3.5%, unchanged from November, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The end-of-year report also showed a significant decline in the number of construction jobs created in 2019. Employment in the industry increased by 151,000 in 2019, about half of the 2018 gain of 307,000.

Read the full government report here.

For December, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 145,000 — lower than the average gain over the last three months of 184,000.  The big gainers for the month were the retail trade and health care.

The report, released Friday morning, suggests a continuing tight housing supply, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors.

“Though job growth overall is highly favorable, the slowness of growth in construction is leading to imbalances where those with new jobs are facing higher rents and higher home prices. Expect an on-going shortage in housing at least through the middle of 2020,” he said.

December employment in building material and garden supply stores gained 7,000 jobs, following a decline in November.


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