Continued growth in January in construction employment contributed to a larger increase in the nation’s job picture, the federal Department of Labor is reporting.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said the January job numbers were indicative of the “strength of the American economy, with 304,000 jobs added as private sector job creation continued to surge despite the partial government shutdown.”
Noting that January marks the eleventh consecutive month that the national unemployment rate has been at or below 4 percent, Acosta singled out the construction, mining, transportation and warehousing sectors for leading the job growth.
The Labor Department report, The Employment Situation, noted that the nation’s unemployment rate had actually marginally increased last month, with the total number of persons unemployed at 6.5 million.
But, said the report, “The impact of the partial federal government shutdown contributed to the uptick in these measures.”
The report additionally noted that construction employment was up by 52,000 jobs in January, with gains occurring in both the residential and non-residential sectors, which together took on more than 34,000 new workers last month.
Meanwhile, both heavy and civil engineering construction was up by more than 10,000 jobs in January.
Altogether, the construction industry has added more than 338,000 jobs since January of 2018.
The Labor Department report also indicated that the national labor force participation rate as of last year was up to 63.2 percent, its highest number since August of 2013.
Acosta predicted that as the jobs picture stabilizes in the coming months, “we are confident the nation’s economy will continue to build on the strength seen in 2018 and the first report of 2019.”
The report also showed that the percentage of women in the construction job force has remained steady at 12.9 percent, compared with 12.8 percent in January 2018.
By Garry Boulard
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