Home construction continues to add jobs

But employment among an age bracket important to household formation slipped

Builders continued to hire more workers in April, though employment among an age cohort important to household formation slipped, according to today’s jobs report, which showed more overall growth than expected.

Residential construction jobs are up 4.1 percent year over year, towering about the overall jobs growth rate of 1.6 percent, said Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko, citing data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today.

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Total residential-construction jobs moved up from a seasonally adjusted 580,200 in March to 586,400 in April, according to the report. In April of last year, the sector supported 572,000 jobs, the report showed.

But that jobs growth lags compared to actual construction growth. Kolko chalks up the discrepancy to the fact that the number of jobs for every construction project is more than normal.

At the same time, today’s report also showed that employment among a cohort that is crucial to household formation, 25 to 34-year-olds, has slipped recently, dropping from 75.6 percent in December 2012 to 75.2 percent in April, Kolko said.

But Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan said that the report was positive overall and “better-than-expected.”

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“The unemployment rate, which dipped 0.1 percentage points to 7.5 percent, truly indicates improving market conditions as a large gain in employment outpaced a decent gain in the labor force. One soft spot was a sizable drop in average weekly hours, which fell for the first time in three months,” he said in a statement.

Duncan added that a survey that Fannie Mae will release next week is expected to show that the housing market “is gradually approaching its sweet spot as the share of consumers who believe that it is a good time to buy remains high while the share of those who think it is a good time to sell continues its upward trend witnessed over the past year.”