According to data released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national construction industry added 13,000 jobs on net in June.
Press Release from Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc (ABC)
WASHINGTON, July 8—The construction industry added 13,000 jobs on net in June, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On a year-over-year basis, industry employment has risen by 292,000 jobs, an increase of 4.0%.
Nonresidential construction employment increased by 16,500 positions on net, with all three subsectors showing positive growth. Nonresidential specialty trade added 11,400 net new jobs, while heavy and civil engineering added 4,500. Nonresidential building also added 600 new positions.
The construction industry unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.7% in June. Unemployment across all industries remained unchanged for the fourth consecutive month at 3.6%.
“Today’s employment report was a welcome respite from a sea of bad economic news,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “In June, there was an abundance of available, unfilled jobs as the summer travel season swung into high gear. Meanwhile, inflation has induced many people back into the labor market in order to offset elevated costs for essentials and luxuries alike. That served as a recipe for another month of solid job growth in America, with contractors collectively adding 13,000 jobs last month.
“This does nothing, however, to dim the risk of recession,” said Basu. “Employment tends to be a lagging indicator. Moreover, the solid employment performance makes it more likely that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates during the months to come, including this month. Higher borrowing costs working in conjunction with lofty materials prices and rapidly rising worker compensation mean that the threat of significant numbers of project postponements and cancellations remains firmly in place. According to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, these factors have already begun to whittle away at contractor profit margins.”
Press Release from Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)
Association Has Created Recruiting and Retention Campaigns, But Construction Officials Urge Public Leaders to Establish Programs to Expose More Future and Current Workers to Construction Opportunities
The construction industry added 13,000 jobs in June as the number of jobseekers with construction experience plunged to a record low for the month according to an analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the industry would likely have added even more jobs in June had it not been for the shortage of available workers.
“Although nonresidential contractors were able to add employees in June, the industry needs more as demand for projects is outpacing the supply of workers,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “With industry unemployment at a record low for June and openings at an all-time high for May, it is clear contractors can’t fill all the positions they would like to.”
The unemployment rate among jobseekers with construction experience tumbled from 7.5 percent in June 2021 to 3.7 percent last month, the lowest rate for June in the 23-year history of the data, the economist noted. The number of unemployed construction workers fell by 345,000, or 47 percent, to 385,000, suggesting there are few experienced jobseekers left to hire.
There were 466,000 construction-industry job openings at the end of May, a jump of 130,000 or 39 percent from a year earlier and the largest May total since that series began in 2000, Simonson added, citing government data released on Wednesday.
Total construction employment moved up by 13,000 employees to 7,670,000 in June, as nonresidential gains offset the first decline in residential employment in 14 months. Nonresidential firms added 16,500 employees, including 600 at general building contractors, 11,400 at nonresidential specialty trade contractors, and 4,500 at heavy and civil engineering construction firms. Employment in residential construction—homebuilders, multifamily general contractors, and residential specialty trade contractors—dipped by 4,100.
Association officials said they were working to attract more people into the construction industry. The association has launched a nationwide targeted digital advertising campaign, Construction is Essential, to identify and recruit new workers, including from segments of the population not typically involved in the industry. And they have launched a workforce retention campaign as well, called Culture of Care. But they urged public officials to also take steps to expose workers to construction career opportunities.
“The industry is working hard to recruit new people into the many high-paying career opportunities that are available,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But too few current and future workers are ever even exposed to construction as a career choice, undermining interest in an industry that everyone sees but too few appreciate.”