Employment growth slows in June

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employment growth

The Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that overall employment growth in June fell sharply from the gain initially reported for last month. In addition, employment growth for the previous two months was revised lower in this month’s report. Also, the employment levels in 2 of the 4 of the multifamily-related job categories we track fell from the preliminary levels reported last month.

Revisions impact employment growth picture

The BLS reported that total seasonally adjusted non-farm employment increased by 206,000 jobs in June, based on their survey of business establishments. However, last month’s gain of 272,000 jobs was revised down to 218,000 jobs while April’s gain, initially reported as 175,000 jobs, was revised to only 106,000 jobs in this month’s report.

Given the revisions, actual non-farm employment is up by only 95,000 jobs from the level reported last month at 158,658,000 jobs.

Government employment was reported to rise by 70,000 jobs, representing 34 percent of the total reported increase. However, based on the level of government employment reported last month, the number of government jobs rose by 45,000, representing 47 percent of the gain in the number of jobs reported for the economy.

The BLS household survey reported that the US unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 4.1 percent. The household survey found that the number of employed persons rose by 116,000 from that reported for last month to 161,199,000. The number of unemployed persons rose by 162,000 to 6,811,000.

The household survey also found that the number of people in the civilian labor force rose by 277,000 in June while the adult civilian population rose by 190,000. The labor force participation rate rose 0.06 percentage points to 62.59 percent. It had been at 63.33 percent before the pandemic. Recovering that 0.74 percent decline in the labor force participation rate would bring 1.99 million more people into the workforce.

Tracking multifamily employment

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.

Residential construction employment continues rise

The first chart shows the history of the levels of employment since 2015 in the two construction jobs categories we track.

construction employment growth

Employment in residential building construction in June, usually with general contractors, was reported to be up by 3,100 jobs. However, the prior month’s employment level was revised lower by 1,000 jobs so reported employment in this category is 2,100 jobs higher than the preliminary value reported last month. Employment in this category is now 951,800 jobs, up 2.4 percent year-over-year.

Employment in residential building trades, i.e. plumbers, electricians, etc., in June was reported to be up 2,400 jobs from last month’s level. However, the May jobs figure was revised lower by 2,900 jobs so employment in this category is 500 jobs lower than the level reported last month. Employment in residential building trades is now 2,408,200 jobs, up 1.5 percent year-over-year.

Total June employment in these two categories of residential construction jobs combined is up 0.16 percent from the revised level of the month before and up 1.7 percent year-over-year. It is up 0.05 percent from the preliminary level for May contained in last month’s report.

Residential property manager jobs grow

The next chart shows the history of the levels of employment since 2015 in the two property management jobs categories we track.

multifamily employment

Employment for residential property managers in May was reported to be up by 3,500 jobs from its revised (-500 jobs) level for April to 551,400 jobs. Employment for residential property managers is up 5.1 percent year-over-year.

Employment for lessors of residential buildings in May was reported to fall by 300 jobs from the unchanged level for April to 375,200 jobs. Employment in this category is up 1.3 percent year-over-year.

Total employment in these two categories of apartment operations jobs combined was reported to be up 0.35 percent from the revised level for last month and up 3.5 percent year-over-year. It is up 0.3 percent from the preliminary level for April contained in last month’s report.

Employment growth continues below trend

The final chart, below, presents the employment data in a different format. It normalizes the employment levels in all four jobs categories to a reading of 100 for January 2015. It also provides trend lines for the growth in each of the categories of employment based on the period from January 2015 through February 2020.

construction employment trends multifamily employment trends

Residential building construction employment is now 2.7 percent below trend. Residential trades employment is now 3.2 percent below trend. Residential property managers employment is 2.0 percent above trend and lessors of residential buildings employment is now 3.5 percent below trend.

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.