October’s job report: Digging deeper

The nation’s employment report for October, released Nov. 2, indicated modest gains in job growth (an additional 171,000) and a slight rise in the unemployment rate, from 7.8% to 7.9%. But a closer look at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that the construction industry -- especially in the residential building sector -- scored some impressive gains.

Employment in the construction industry rose 17% in October 2012 compared with the previous month. For residential buildings, the growth was 2.6%. Non-residential construction dropped 2.0%.

Measured another way, by specialty trade contractors, employment increased by 16.8%. Residential specialty trade contractors posted 6.7% job growth between October 2012 and September 2012, and non-residential contractor jobs were up 10.1% during that time period. 

Retailers added 36,000 jobs in October, with gains in motor vehicles and parts dealers (+7,000) and furniture and home furnishings stores (+4,000). Retail trade has added 82,000 jobs over the past three months, according to the U.S. Labor Department, with most of the gain occurring in motor vehicles and parts dealers, clothing and accessories stores, and miscellaneous store retailers.