Construction Employment Drops Again By 1,000 Jobs
Construction employment dropped 1,000 jobs in March to 5,514,000 jobs, which is the same as six months ago. Employment rose in four of the five sub-sectors from February to March according to the latest Associated General Contractors report. Heavy and civil engineering employment increased 25,000 jobs over 12 months with help from the government.
With the construction unemployment rate at 20%, which is double the overall unemployment rate of 8.8% and the highest of any industry. Construction spending is at the lowest level since late 1999 to an annual rate of $761 billion, down 1.4% more in February. This combined with the increase in material prices further dampens the economic growth.
Now that federal stimulus packages and spending is winding down, public construction might not have the growth it did last year at 0.5%. Already, public construction dropped 1.3% in February. Although private nonresidential construction gained 0.9%, this is still 13.2% down from February 2010. Also, private residential construction fell 3.7%.
“The ongoing drop in construction employment in March, combined with the news that construction spending hit an 11-year low in February, is doubly distressing,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Despite a few signs of an upturn, the industry as a whole has yet to touch bottom five full years after the peak in employment and spending.”