Construction’s unemployment rate declined for the first time in seven months, as the industry gained 15,000 jobs in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said April 2. This uptick is the industry’s first monthly increase in jobs, seasonally adjusted, since June 2007. But the 24.9% jobless rate, while down from February’s 27.1%, is still above the 21.1% rate in March 2009. Construction economists praised the latest number but were wary about whether it signals a longer-term jobs trend.
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.