The most recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics appears to ignore the nonresidential construction boom, the Associated General Contractors of America’s chief economist said Friday.
The government’s report, which said seasonally adjusted construction employment dropped 53,000 in July or 0.7 percent from July 2006 figures, missed the good news on nonresidential work, Ken Simonson said.
“That total hides the vigorous growth in nonresidential work that is occurring,” he said. “On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported that nonresidential construction spending leaped 14 percent from June 2006 to June 2007. “Last Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that private, nonresidential investment in structures soared 15 percent from the second quarter of 2006 to the same quarter of 2007. And on July 25, informal surveys included in the Federal Reserve’s ‘beige book’ suggested that nonresidential construction remained vibrant in July.”
Simonson blamed the discrepancies on the mislabeling of current commercial contractors that once did residential work due to incorrect use of federal classification codes in government reports.
“If their companies still use their former industry code, the workers will be miscounted as staying in the residential specialty trade industry,” he said.