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Residential Construction Employment Outperforms National Employment

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Economics

Residential Construction Employment Outperforms National Employment


January 12, 2021
Builder measuring OSB
Photo: Stephen Coburn

As overall nonfarm payroll employment decreased in December amid rising COVID-19 cases, residential construction jobs increased. Nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 140,000 in December, making it the first month of losses after seven consecutive months of gains, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The unemployment rate remained at 6.7% last month as well, but residential construction employment increased by 22,700 to a new total of 3 million. Non-residential employment continues to trail behind. While residential construction has regained all previous job loss from early 2020, non-residential only regained 61% of jobs lost in March and April.

 The October increase was revised up by 44,000 from 610,000 to 654,000, and the November increase was revised up by 91,000 from 245,000 to 336,000.

Looking back at 2020, a year like no other, the economy lost 1.4 million jobs in March and 20.8 million jobs in April due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it. The April job loss was unprecedented in the history of data series since 1939. From May to November, 12.5 million jobs have been created. For the year of 2020, the average monthly employment growth was negative (-781,000), compared to the average monthly growth of 178,000 over all of 2019.

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