ABC: Construction employment up in May

By |  June 3, 2022

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The construction industry added 36,000 jobs in May, according to an Associated Builders & Contractors analysis of U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Year over year, ABC says construction industry employment increased by 3.8 percent – or 283,000 jobs.

Nonresidential construction employment increased by 19,400 positions on net, with all three subsectors growing. Heavy and civil engineering added 11,300 new jobs while nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 5,700. Nonresidential building also added 2,400 new positions.

The construction unemployment rate decreased to 3.8 percent in May, while unemployment across all industries remained unchanged at 3.6 percent last month.

“If we look at a single datapoint, it appears that the nation is entering a period of slower job growth,” says Anirban Basu, ABC’s chief economist. “Today’s estimate reveals job growth has finally fallen below the threshold of 400,000 new jobs a month. It is unclear whether this is primarily due to a lack of workers available to fill open positions or employers balking at high and rising wages. In either case, the implication is that consumer spending power will not expand as rapidly in the months ahead, setting the stage for softer economic growth and eventually slower inflation.

Basu adds that this slowing job growth could come with its share of positives.

“Many will view [this] somewhat weaker jobs report as bad news, but for contractors, this may turn out to be highly positive,” he says. “To the extent that the economy slows, the Federal Reserve may decide not to raise interest rates as aggressively, at least once the summer is past. That will help moderate increases in the cost of capital, contributing to ongoing demand for construction services, which has slipped in the most recent month, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index.”

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

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