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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released a jobs report for October, stating total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 638,000, with the unemployment rate
declining to 6.9 percent.

According to the jobs report, “These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In October, notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction. Employment in government declined.”

Construction added 84,000 jobs in October. According to the report, specialty trade contractors added jobs, both in the non-residential (+28,000) and residential (+18,000) spaces. Employment also rose in heavy and civil engineering construction and in construction of buildings (+19,000 each). Construction has added 789,000 jobs in the last 6 months, but employment is down by 294,000 since February.

Employment in financial activities increased by 31,000 in October, but is 129,000 lower than in February. Over-the-month job gains occurred in finance and insurance (+17,000) and real estate (+10,000).

“The labor market continues to improve, with another 638,000 net job gains in the latest month and the unemployment rate slashed to 6.9 percent. That brings the total from the worst of the lockdown in April to 12.1 million jobs recovered,” said National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Another 10 million jobs are needed to get us back to the pre-pandemic good economic times. Residential construction and contracting trades added 23,800 jobs in October. For reference, the unemployment rate swung from 3.5 percent before the pandemic lockdown to 14.7 percent in April.

“As we look into the post-election future, a vaccine will surely become available sometime next year, which will then propel the economy into high gear,” added Yun. “Dining at restaurants and attending sports games could be robust as many people unleash savings accumulated during the pandemic months, including from stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits. Interest rates will continue to hover at record lows assuring a steady flow of homebuyers. Home construction will further add jobs and help with inventory.”