Construction Employment Declined by 20,000 in May
Washington, DC, June 11, 2021-Construction employment totaled 7,423,000 in May, a drop of 20,000 from April and the third decline in the past four months, according to Associated General Contractor’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.
The May total was 225,000 (-2.9%) below the pre-pandemic peak in February 2020.
The gap widened between residential and nonresidential employment gains. Residential construction employment, comprising residential building and residential specialty trade contractors, edged up by 1,900 in May, putting the total 35,000 (1.2%) higher than in February 2020. Nonresidential construction employment-building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction-shrank by 21,800 in May and was 260,000 (-5.6%) below the February 2020 level.
A total of 642,000 former construction workers were unemployed in May, a sharp decline from May 2020 but the second-highest May level since 2014. The industry’s unemployment rate in May was 6.7%, compared to 12.7% in May 2020.