ARLINGTON, Va. — Construction employers added 17,000 jobs in November as the sector’s employment hit the highest level since August 2009 and the industry unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent, according to new analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, which noted the new employment figures come as construction spending levels hit a four-year high in October.

“While these new employment figures are very encouraging, growth remains uneven by segment, region, and time period,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “There are likely to be continuing variations in growth between the homebuilding, private nonresidential, and public sectors.”

Construction employment totaled more than 5.8 million in November, an increase of 178,000 from a year earlier, Simonson noted. But while employment grew by 3.1 percent during the past year, construction employment remains nearly 1.9 million below the sector’s April 2006 peak. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for workers actively looking for jobs who were last employed in the construction industry declined from 12.2 percent in November 2012 to 8.6 percent last month.

Nonresidential construction firms added 7,900 new jobs in November while residential firms added 8,400 jobs. While every segment of the construction industry added jobs in November, heavy and civil engineering firms, which are most likely to perform federal construction work, added the least amount, only 200 jobs. Meanwhile residential specialty trade contractors added the most new jobs during the past month, 7,100.

Publication date: 1/27/2014