Construction’s February unemployment rate of 21.8% showed improvement over January’s 22.5% rate and was a substantial drop from February 2010’s 27.1%, but the industry’s jobless level remains the highest among U.S. industries, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Released on March 4, the BLS report shows that construction gained 33,000 jobs in February. However, BLS notes that the industry’s February pickup in jobs followed a January loss of 22,000 jobs, which “may have reflected severe winter weather.” Jobs increased in February in all construction segments, except non-residential building, which had a loss of 2,000 jobs. Specialty trade
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.