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Construction Industry Unemployment Rate Shrinks Slightly

4/20/2013 | Construction Blog

The construction industry job market continues to struggle, but fresh unemployment numbers did decrease slightly from earlier this year. According to the March 8 employment report by the U.S. Department of Labor, he construction industry jobless rate declined from 16.1% in January to 15.7% in February. The rate in February 2012 was 17.1%



Digging deeper into the numbers, the non-residential sector added another 6,200 jobs in February to bring the overall increase in the last 12 months to 20,600. While that growth is positive, it remains anemic at a rate of 3.1%. The numbers were not much better in other categories: nonresidential specialty trades added 14,600 jobs in February and totals 1.1% growth over the last 12 months and heavy and civil engineering increased by 8,200 last month for 3.7% over the last year. Residential construction is perhaps among the worst. It added only 400 jobs in February and has remained in a virtual standstill over the last 12 months. Growth is 0.1%.

For comparison purposes, all industries nationwide added 236,000 jobs. This number resulted from a gain of 246,000 in the private sector and a loss of 10,000 in the public sector. While the economy did 50% better than economists projected, this is not saying much. They only expected 80,000 new jobs.

In summary, the construction sector joblessness rate remains much like the economy at large. While it is not hemorrhaging jobs like it was more recent years and there are signs of growth, the numbers largely tell a story of stagnation.