Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 160,000 in April, according to latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Employment Situation report released Friday morning. April figures mirror the downward ADP employment index that BUILDER reported earlier this week, and also falls short of the 203,000-job forecast by economists polled by MarketWatch.

Employment in the construction industry roughly held firm, with only 1,000 new jobs added in April, following a strong gain of 41,000 jobs in March. This is the slowest pace seen since the beginning of this year but is still seen as a positive sign as employment continues to grow. The total employment in construction stands at a seasonally adjusted rate of 6.67 million, up 4.1% from the 6.41million a year earlier.

Within the construction industry, employment of workers involved in the construction of residential buildings (seasonally adjusted) increased to 727,600, an 9.9% increase month-over-month. In the same month, however, residential specialty trade contractors and heavy and civil engineering construction lost -10,900 and -2,200 jobs, respectively.

While more jobs continue to be added to the total non-farm workforce, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 8 cents to $25.53. Average hourly earnings for construction employees slightly went up from $27.83 to $27.90 and are now 9.3% higher than the national average.

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