ABC Reports June Construction Unemployment Rate Increases as Labor Force Grows
WASHINGTON — The U.S. construction industry added 13,000 net new jobs in June after adding 29,000 net new jobs in May (revised upward from 25,000 plus), according to an analysis by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry has added 282,000 net new jobs during the past calendar year, a 4.1 percent increase.
Nonresidential construction employment increased by 8,600 net jobs for the month. The majority of that growth came from the heavy and civil engineering subsector, which added 6,100 net jobs. The nonresidential building subsector lost 200 net jobs in June after losing 5,000 net jobs in May.
The construction industry unemployment rate increased to 4.7 percent in June, 0.3 percentage points higher on a monthly basis and 0.2 percentage points higher on a yearly basis. The national unemployment rate for all industries increased to 4 percent largely due to an expanding labor force.
“Today’s employment report represents a source of encouragement for most contractors,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “There is evidence of ongoing hiring in both public and private construction categories. Perhaps most encouraging was the 6,100 net new jobs added in the heavy and civil engineering component, an indication of stepped-up infrastructure spending. This comes as little surprise since the ongoing economic expansion has helped to strengthen the balance sheets of state and local governments, positioning them to spend more aggressively on capital projects.
“Most private construction segments were also associated with net job creations in June,” continued Basu. “While the construction spending data indicates some loss of momentum in certain private construction segments, the employment data do not seem to indicate any meaningful turbulence. During the past year, nonresidential specialty trade contractors, many of which are engaged in private construction projects, have expanded their collective payrolls by more than 100,000 positions, or by 4.3 percent. Many contractors continue to say that their backlogs remain robust and that their leading challenge is securing enough trained workers to deliver forthcoming construction services.
“The overall economy continues to produce jobs at a pace that exceeds consensus expectations,” Basu added. “Despite all the focus on rising interest rates, mounting inflationary pressures, tariffs, and trade wars, the U.S. economy continues to deliver new opportunities for businesses and job seekers alike. In short, economic momentum persists. This strongly suggests that contractors will remain busy, and that additional opportunities to bid for work are in the cards.”
Publication date: 7/18/2018