Seasonally adjusted construction industry employment slipped in June to the lowest total since July 1996, while the industry’s unemployment rate remained at 20.1 percent, more than double the average for all workers, according to analysis of new federal figures by the Associated General Contractors of America.
“The recession may have ended a year ago for most of the
economy, but for construction, job losses and business closures continue every
month,” says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction trade
“While the rest of the economy added nearly a million jobs
in the first half of 2010, 114,000 construction workers lost theirs, joining
the two million others who have become unemployed since August 2006,” Simonson
observes. The industry added 49,000 jobs in March and April as homebuilders and
highway contractors geared up, but 30,000 jobs disappeared in May and 22,000 in
June as housing cooled and nonresidential building slumped further.
The outlook for nonresidential building construction remains
ominous, according to Simonson. In May, the latest month for which such data is
available, architectural firms laid off workers for the 21st time in 22 months.
“If there’s less work for architects now, there will be less
for building contractors to bid on and build in coming months,” Simonson remarks.
In contrast, engineering and drafting firms, which design infrastructure
projects, added jobs three months in a row through May.”
Heavy and civil engineering construction – the category that
covers most workers in transportation, power, water and wastewater construction
– added 1,300 workers in June, and has held roughly steady since last October,
as federal stimulus funds have boosted construction in these categories,
Construction Employment Falls to 14-year Low in June
July 8, 2010