The unemployment rate, according to the most recent statistics released by the Department of Labor, has fallen to a new low of 3.5 percent, with more than 266,000 jobs added in November.
The latest numbers, said Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia in a statement, “shows the economy continues to flourish.”
Scalia also noted that the last time the unemployment rate was as low as 3.5 percent was in 1969. As recently as the fall of 2009, the unemployment rate stood at 10 percent.
Despite those strong numbers, job growth overall for the year has slowed down compared with last year, which saw an average of 223,000 new jobs per months. This year the average has come in at around 180,000 per month.
According to the Labor Department’s Employment Situation Monthly, the most notable job gains in November were seen in “healthcare and in professional and technical services.”
Employment was also up in the manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, and financial activities sectors, said the report.
Job growth overall in the construction industry posted a 2 percent gain in November, with a 2.2 percent increase in nonresidential work, and 1.7 percent gain in both the heavy and civil engineering and residential sectors.
That translates to around 1,000 new construction jobs last month.
In a statement, Anirban Basu, chief economist with the Associated Builders and Contractors, noted that “while labor market data tend to be lagging indicators, it is clear that the U.S. economy retains plentiful momentum as it heads toward 2020.”
Basu also noted, however, that one trouble spot remains: new office and retail space construction, which has recently seen a decline in investment.
By Garry Boulard
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