Construction Unemployment Falls to 17-Year Low
Arlington, VA, February 8, 2016—Construction
firms added 18,000 workers in January, as the industry's unemployment rate declined
to a 17-year low of 8.5%, according to an analysis of new government data by
the Associated General Contractors of America.
Association officials noted that
the number of construction jobs added in January was down compared to the last
three months of 2015 and could reflect either a slowdown in nonresidential
construction activity or an inability of contractors to find qualified workers.
Construction employment totaled
6,615,000 in January, the most since December 2008, and is up by 264,000 jobs
compared to a year ago, a 4.2% increase.
increased by 20,100 in January and by 149,500, or 6.2%, compared to a year ago.
Nonresidential construction employment declined by 2,300 jobs for the month but
was up 115,000 jobs compared to last January, a 2.9% increase.
The number of unemployed
jobseekers in January who last worked in construction totaled 729,000. The
unemployment rate for such workers was 8.5%. Both the number and the rate were
the lowest January figures since the series were introduced in 2000. Meanwhile,
Census Bureau data released on February 1 showed that construction spending
experienced only slight growth between November and December, and has been
limited to residential building. Nonresidential construction spending by both
the private and public sectors has been flat or declining since July 2015.
Among nonresidential construction
employment categories, only the nonresidential building segment added jobs in
January, expanding by 5,300. But those gains were offset by a decline of 2,400
jobs in the nonresidential specialty trade contractors segment and a loss of
5,200 jobs in the heavy and civil engineering construction segment.