Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 215,000 in March, according to latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) Employment Situation report released Friday morning. March figures exceed Wall Street's forecast of 203,000 and further buoy the economy, despite talks of a possible recession in the beginning of the year.
Employment in the construction industry trended up in March, with a gain of 37,000 jobs. This is a higher pace than seen in February, when +19,000 jobs were added to the industry. Over the year, 301,000 jobs have been added in the construction industry, and total employment (6,672,000) is up 4.72% compared to March of 2015.
Within the construction industry, employment of workers involved in the construction of residential buildings (seasonally adjusted) increased to 717,700, a increase of 2.5% month-over-month. Following the trend seen in recent months, the biggest gains in construction employment occurred among residential specialty trade contractors, and in heavy and civil engineering construction, with an additional 12,00 and 11,000 jobs added, respectively.
The average weekly hours of all employees working in the construction industry trended down for the second consecutive month to 38.7 hours a week, down from 39.0 in March of 2015. Despite the decrease in average weekly hours, average hourly earnings increased to $27.85, marking a 2.24% increase year-over-year, when construction industry employees were paid an average of $27.24.
Despite the fact that roughly 13 million nonfarm payroll jobs have been added in the U.S. since 2011, wage growth continues to lag, and has risen only slightly more than 2% a year. According to MarketWatch reporter Jeffry Bartash, the rate of employee wage growth is rising "just two-third as fast as earnings usually rise in strong recovery." Wage growth is the missing ingredient in housing's recovery, as the value of homes is growing too fast for prospective buyers to accommodate buying a home in many markets.
Here's how some economists and journalists are taking today's release:
Employment rose by 215,000. A very positive report! Previous month also revised upward. Bullish for housing... #nonfarmpayroll
— Brad Hunter (@BradleyHunter) April 1, 2016
Rising demand for construction workers could cannibalize manufacturing employment, make the labor shortage in manufacturing instead.
— Conor Sen (@conorsen) April 1, 2016
— Ben Leubsdorf (@BenLeubsdorf) April 1, 2016
Most ppl returning to the labor force have jobs. Participation rise isn't primarily about people beginning searches. pic.twitter.com/X78jO8ryMM
— Ben Casselman (@bencasselman) April 1, 2016
No truth at all to the story that job growth has been all part time. It's all full-time. pic.twitter.com/3qAKlOVnv2
— Steve Liesman (@steveliesman) April 1, 2016
See the full release here >>