Jobs, Unemployment Down in U.S. Construction

job openings

While the overall number of people working in the U.S. construction industry has fallen, unemployment in the industry has actually declined according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

In its most recent employment report, the department noted the number of construction jobs nation-wide dropped by some 2,000 in April. Despite what appears on the surface to be bad news, unemployment in the sector dropped by almost three per cent in that time.

The reduction in the unemployment rate comes, curiously, at a time when many fewer jobs were available in various construction areas. Throughout April, there was a loss of 8,400 jobs in specialty trade contracting, 2,500 jobs in residential construction and 1,100 in non-residential construction.

Those losses were offset largely by growth in other sectors. Specialty trade contractor employment rose by some 6,300 jobs and the civil and heavy industry construction sector saw an increase of some 3,300 jobs.

Those boosts helped paint a rosier picture than in recent times overall. While the construction sector was particularly hard-hit following the global financial crisis, the industry as a whole has registered a modest uptick in employment figures. Overall, there were 63,000 more jobs in April, 2012 than in April, 2011. That marked a 1.1 per cent increase in employment figures, with unemployment figures naturally coming in lower than in recent times.

April saw the construction industry’s unemployment rate drop from 17.2 per cent to a far less dismal-looking 14.5 per cent. As such, despite a slight loss of jobs overall, the number of U.S. construction workers without work is lower than it had been.

According to Anirban Basu, chief economist with Association Builders and Contractors, non-residential construction was trending positively toward the end of 2011, though that trend has been slowed in 2012.

He said numbers in non-residential construction remain weak, which demonstrates that the industry is still facing challenges. Overall, there are projects being completed without new work coming in to continue to provide work opportunities for workers.

Basu noted, however, that as the economy continues to improve, more work will come in over the long term, creating an overall more positive outlook. The benefits of an improving economy will only be helped by stable prices on commodities and construction inputs.

“The nation’s economy has managed to regain some semblance of momentum since last September, which should ultimately translate into better news for the construction industry,” he said.

Basu noted that the economy softened in the period from January to April – much as it did last year – but said there was definite cause for optimism as “US economic fundamentals are better now than they were a year ago as there is no immediate debt ceiling confrontation ahead.”

He added commodity and construction input prices were more stable than in 2011, which “indicates that the broader US economy, and eventually the construction industry, are positioned to expand.”

Article Themes:
Architecture Grads Enter the World of Unemployment

Architecture Grads Enter the World of Unemployment

With the high costs of college tuition in a...
New Windsor-Detroit Bridge to Boost Construction, Trade

New Windsor-Detroit Bridge to Boost Construction, Trade

A new bridge spanning from Windsor to Detroit will...
Construction Drives Hiring Nationwide

Construction Drives Hiring Nationwide

A new report released by BMO Bank of Montreal...
U.S. Housing Industry on the Rebound

U.S. Housing Industry on the Rebound

While February's housing start numbers dropped by about 8,000...
Spanish Construction Sector Hit Hard

Spanish Construction Sector Hit Hard

Following the collapse of Spain’s property bubble, the outlook...
separator line

separator line
separator line
separator line
DesignBuild Source Architecture Construction Engineering Interior Design Contact DesignBuild Source Team Advertise Editorial Submission Privacy Statement DesignBuild Source RSS Follow DesignBuild Source