Associated Builders and Contractors Inc.

Construction Unemployment Rate Falls Again in June

In June, the nation’s construction industry unemployment rate fell to 9.8 percent for the first time since September 2007 with the addition of 13,000 jobs, according the July 5 report by the Department of Labor. Since June 2012, the industry has added 190,000 jobs -- a 3.4 percent increase.

Every major category of construction experienced gains in employment for the month. Nonresidential building construction employment increased by 700 jobs for the month and has added 16,400 jobs, or 2.5 percent, during the last 12 months. Residential building construction employment inched up by 100 jobs in June and is up by 13,100 jobs, or 2.3 percent, compared to the same time last year.

Housing Starts Rise in May Due to Increased Multifamily Production

Nonresidential specialty trade contractors gained 2,100 jobs for the month and have added 47,100 jobs, or 2.3 percent, during the last 12 months. Residential specialty trade contractors have added 5,100 jobs since May and gained 77,100 jobs, or 5.2 percent, since June 2012. Heavy and civil engineering construction employment increased by 5,600 jobs last month, and the sector has added 36,300 jobs, or 4.2 percent, from one year ago.

Nonresidential Construction Spending Up in May 2013

Across all industries, the nation added 195,000 jobs as the private sector expanded by 202,000 jobs and the public sector shrunk by 7,000 jobs. However, the nation’s unemployment rate was unchanged from the previous month at 7.6 percent and remains lower than the 8.2 percent registered in June 2012.

“Today’s employment report is positive news for the nation’s construction industry,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

“While the economy continues to face a number of headwinds, including most recently in the form of higher interest rates, the wealth effect associated with rising equity markets and home prices dominates the recovery,” Basu said. “The result has been steady expansion in consumer spending, which is associated with expanding job creation in closely aligned sectors of the economy.

“For construction contractors, the implication is that the volume of work associated with lodging and shopping center construction will continue to march higher,” said Basu. “Not coincidentally, more than one-third of the construction jobs added last month were added by specialty trade contractors.

“There was also evidence of more people falling into part-time work, and the broadest measure of unemployment, which includes discouraged workers and people working part-time for economic reasons, rose to 14.3 percent in June,” Basu added.

“Despite this increase, the construction industry’s diminishing unemployment rate shows that societal income tied to wages and salaries continues to expand slowly, which suggests the economy will only grow at a moderate pace,” said Basu. “That should be enough to help drive nonresidential construction spending higher, but progress will remain gradual.”

View the May employment report.

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