The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its December employment report this morning. For the final month of 2012, the U.S. economy added 155,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate remaining constant at 7.8 percent. The 155,000 jobs match the average for job growth for 2012, which was 153,000 jobs per month. In addition, for the new year, the BLS revised some of its data. November’s unemployment rate, reported last month at 7.7 percent, was revised up to 7.8 percent. So the unemployment rate remained the same in December.
October’s employment numbers were revised down by 1,000 jobs (from 138,000 to 137,000), but November’s numbers were revised upwards significantly (from 146,000 to 161,000).
The architecture and engineering services segment of the economy added 3,800 jobs in December. That’s an improvement over the 2,400 jobs added in November, which in turn was an improvement over the 1,500 added in October. All of this marches in line with the figures we’ve been seeing from the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index, which in November, had seen growth in architecture billings for four straight months.
And the November employment numbers have been revised as well. Now, the BLS says that architecture and engineering added 3,000 jobs between October and November. In the past 12 months, since December 2011, the architecture and engineering services segment of the economy has added 33,900 jobs (using the BLS’s seasonally adjusted data).
The construction industry had a good month for job growth as well. After losing 20,000 jobs last month (which the BLS has now revised to a smaller 10,000 loss of jobs), the industry added 30,000 jobs in December. (This is close to the 39,000 jobs added in construction as reported by ADP and Moody’s Analytics yesterday.) Breaking down that 30,000: residential construction added 5,800 jobs; nonresidential construction added 7,000; heavy and civil engineering construction lost 700; and specialty trade contractors (both residential and nonresidential) added 17,900.
But the construction industry is up only by 18,000 jobs over this point a year ago. While nonresidential construction is up by 12,200 over the past year, residential construction actually has fewer workers, by 6,600. This is odd, of course, given the past few months of good news surrounding improved conditions for residential construction and increased housing starts. There have been a plethora of theories given for this, with no final conclusion. Stephen Jacob Smith examined this issue of the jobless housing recovery for us a couple of weeks ago, and you can check out his story for more.