WASHINGTON - "The construction industry again outpaced the overall economy in adding jobs in November," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), a national construction trade association representing over 11,000 specialty-contracting firms. "All segments of construction are sharing in the gains," said Simonson.

A report from the U. S. Labor Department showed that the industry accounted for 37,000 new jobs out of 215,000 added nationwide. "Over the past year, employment in residential specialty trade contractors and heavy and civil engineering construction grew 6 percent, residential building construction employment grew 4 percent, and nonresidential specialty trades and building construction rose 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively."

"A small piece of the gain, primarily in heavy and civil engineering, is attributable to reconstruction after the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," Simonson said. "But the industry added 32,000 jobs in August, almost as many as before Katrina hit. In fact, state employment data released shows that Louisiana and Mississippi lost 32,000 construction jobs between August and September and regained only 6,000 in October.

"Over the past year, the industry has added 296,000 workers, an increase of more than 4 percent from the Nov. 2004 total. That torrid growth compares to a tepid 1.5 percent rate of increase for the overall economy," said Simonson.

Publication date: 12/19/2005