The latest Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that employment in apartment operations jobs grew during the month while residential construction jobs declined.
Employment up, participation down
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment increased by 372,000 jobs in June, based on their survey of business establishments. The BLS household survey reported that the US unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent.
Compared to the previous month. the household survey also found that the number of unemployed persons fell by 38,000. The number of unemployed persons is still 125,000 above the pre-pandemic level.
The number of people in the civilian labor force fell by 353,000 during the month while the adult population rose by 156,000. This caused the labor force participation rate to fall from May’s level to 62.2 percent. It had been at 63.4 percent before the pandemic. Recovering that 1.2 percent decline in labor force participation would bring 3.2 million more people into the workforce.
Focus on the multifamily
The BLS reported more detailed employment information on four job categories of interest to the multifamily industry. These are employment as residential construction workers, as specialty trades within residential construction, as residential property managers and as lessors of residential buildings. As usual, some of the data is reported with a month delay, so the latest figures for the latter two categories are for the month of May.
The first chart shows the long-term history of the levels of employment in these four jobs categories.
Construction employment report mixed
Employment in residential building construction in June, usually with general contractors, was reported to be down by 4,500 jobs (0.5 percent) from the revised employment level for May at 898,600 jobs. However, May’s employment figure was revised upward by 200 jobs so that June’s preliminary employment figure is actually 4,300 jobs lower than the preliminary figure reported for May last month. Employment in this category is up 5.4 percent year-over-year and is now 7.1 percent higher than its level in February 2020.
Employment in residential building trades, i.e. plumbers, electricians, etc., in June was reported to be up 400 jobs (0.02 percent) from May’s revised figure at 2,255,500 jobs. In addition, May’s preliminary employment figure was revised upward by 600 jobs in this month’s report. Employment in this category is up 3.5 percent year-over-year and is now 5.6 percent above its level in February 2020.
Total employment in these two categories of residential construction jobs combined was down 0.1 percent in June from the revised level of the month before and was 6.0 percent above its level in February 2020.
Apartment operations jobs up
Employment for residential property managers in May was reported to be up by 1,800 jobs (0.4 percent) from its revised level for April to 495,100 jobs. In addition, the April jobs figure was revised upward by 400 jobs, so the preliminary figure for May is up by 2,200 jobs from the preliminary figure for April reported last month. Employment for residential property managers is up 2.6 percent year-over-year and is up from its February 2020 level by 2.9 percent.
Employment for lessors of residential buildings was reported to rise in May by 3,300 jobs to a level of 363,000 jobs. This nearly reversed last month’s reported decline. Employment in this category is up 2.4 percent year-over-year and is now 1.6 percent below its pre-pandemic level.
Total employment in these two categories combined was up 0.6 percent for the month and is now 1.0 percent above its level in February 2020.
The final chart, below, presents the employment data in a slightly different format. It normalizes the employment levels in all four jobs categories to a reading of 100 for January 2015. This presentation makes recent changes in employment levels in these categories more visible.
The numbers given in the Employment Situation report are seasonally adjusted and are subject to revision. It is common for small adjustments to be made in subsequent reports, particularly to the data for the most recent month. The current Employment Situation report can be found here.