Construction Unemployment at Six-Year Low

Washington, DC, Nov. 1, 2013 -- Construction employment rose by 20,000 in September and the industry’s unemployment rate fell to a six-year low of 8.5%, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

Also, construction spending increased for the fifth consecutive month in August.

“Both of these reports show the industry was doing relatively well before the federal government shutdown forced many firms to hit the pause button,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist.

“But the shutdown likely disrupted a wide variety of projects and may have caused private investors and developers to delay decisions about new projects or plant expansions. As a result, future spending and hiring gains may be weaker.”

Construction employment totaled 5,826,000 in September, a gain of 20,000 from the August tally, which was revised up by 8,000 from the Labor Department’s initial estimate.

The September figure is 3.4% higher than in September 2012, while aggregate weekly hours of all construction employees rose 4.2% over the year, indicating that companies are adding to existing workers’ hours in addition to hiring new employees.

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