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ABC: Construction employment up in September

By |  October 10, 2022

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The construction industry added 19,000 jobs in September, according to an Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Year-over-year, industry employment has risen by 292,000 jobs (3.9 percent).

Nonresidential construction employment increased by 13,100 jobs, with growth in two of the three subcategories, according to ABC. Nonresidential specialty trade added 11,200 new jobs, while nonresidential building added an additional 2,400. Heavy and civil engineering jobs decreased by 500 positions.

The construction unemployment rate decreased to 3.4 percent in September, while unemployment across all industries fell from 3.7 percent in August to 3.5 percent last month, ABC says.

“Today’s employment report was terrific, which in this upside-down, inside-out economic environment means that it was truly terrible,” says Anirban Basu, ABC’s chief economist. “Stock, bond and other investors are hunting for signs of slowing economic activity, particularly with respect to the labor market. Those signs did not emerge. Despite elevated compensation costs, employers continue to hire aggressively. Not only does that help support additional inflationary pressure, but it also sends a signal to Federal Reserve policymakers that further aggressive rate tightening is necessary.”

Basu adds that if rates rise too dramatically amid already substantial expansion, nonresidential activity recovery would likely falter. However, he says contractors remain in good spirits.

“Despite rising borrowing costs and elevated risk of recession, most contractors remain upbeat regarding near-term prospects, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index,” Basu says. “Backlog remains stable, and many contractors expect rising sales, employment and profit margins over the next six months. Many contractors also continue to report operating at capacity. Their primary issue is not insufficient demand for construction services, but rather a lack of access to skilled craft professionals.”

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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