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 has reported. That is construction's first monthly increase in jobs, in seasonally adjusted terms, since June 2007, economists said. But the 24.9% March rate, though down from February's 27.1%, was still above March 2009's 21.1%, BLS said in its monthly employment report, released on Apr. 2. Construction economists praised the latest BLS numbers, but were wary about whether last month's improvement is the start of a longer-term jobs trend. For one thing, construction is clearly seasonal,
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.