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Construction Jobs and the Housing Market

Construction MaterialUnemployment has stayed steady, according to the latest Employment Situation Summary from the U.S. Census Bureau. The unemployment rate is still at 3.9 percent as of August 2018, and the number of unemployed persons remains relatively unchanged at 6.2 million.

“Today’s jobs data showed wage growth is slowly increasing, currently at 2.9 percent compared to 2.3 percent at this time last year," said Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, at First American. "The increased pace of wage growth, combined with the recent slowdown in price appreciation, should bode well for consumer house-buying power this fall.”

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men, adult women, teenagers, Whites, Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics showed little or no change in August.

Construction has seen a trend upward in employment, up by over 23,000 in August, and up by 297,000 over the year.

“The headline numbers from the August jobs report point to a solid labor market,” said Doug Duncan, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. “Despite the downward revisions in the prior two months, average monthly job gains year-to-date sit at 207,000, above the 189,000 over the same period in 2017. The pop in annual wage gains to the expansion best, along with the recent uptrend in inflation, seems to support Fed Chair Powell’s argument in Jackson Hole that moving interest rates too slowly could risk overheating, consistent with our call for September and December rate hikes. For housing, a pickup in residential construction workers was encouraging and badly needed as supply constraints largely kept housing on the sideline during the first half of the year while other consumer and business demand helped propel strong economic growth.”

Fannie Mae notes that increased employment has led to an overall more positive sentiment among homeowners. Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index was 88 points in August, up 1.5 points month over month. According to Fannie Mae, the uptick in home purchase sentiment can be attributed to job- and income-related HPSI components, as 15 percentage points fewer Americans were afraid of losing their job as of August, a large recovery from July’s 11 point month over month decrease. This puts the share of those who are unafraid of losing their job at 80 percent, a record high for the survey.

Find the complete Census Bureau charts here.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing. He is a contributing writer for MReport. An East Texas Native, he has studied abroad in Athens, Greece and works part-time as a photographer.

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