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ABC: Construction employment up in April

By |  May 6, 2022

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The construction industry as whole added 2,000 jobs in April, while nonresidential construction employment had a net decrease of 2,000 positions, according to an Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

On a year-over-year basis, industry employment expanded by 235,000 jobs, a 3.2 percent increase.

All the nonresidential job losses came from the sector’s specialty trade segment, which lost 6,400 jobs. Nonresidential building and heavy and civil engineering added 3,900 and 500 jobs, respectively.

Construction unemployment dropped to 4.6 percent in April. Unemployment across all industries remained unchanged at 3.6 percent last month.

“The strength of the U.S. economy is fading, but labor market data tend to be lagging indicators,” says Anirban Basu ABC’s chief economist. “For now, the labor market remains strong as contractors and other employers compete for scarce skill sets. In March, there were approximately 11.5 million available, unfilled jobs in America, roughly 4,000 of them in construction. As more people return to the labor force, some chasing higher wages, America continues to add jobs at a rapid pace.”

Basu adds that the rate at which jobs are being added with help support economic momentum.

“Not only are job totals climbing, but many people are earning far more than they did pre-pandemic, fueling household spending power and keeping the recovery afloat,” he says. “But with inflation steadily hammering away at household balance sheets and interest rates rising, spending growth will slow, and so will the pace of employment gains.”

Based on ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, Basu says contractors collectively expect to hire staff in the months ahead.

“Many construction firms report operating at capacity,” he says. “Hiring is a mechanism to expand that capacity. But with the cost of capital, materials and labor rising, demand for private construction services could soften next year. The risk of recession continues to rise.”

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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