Construction's jobless rate improved in April, declining to 17.8% from 20% in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on May 6. Last month's figure also was markedly better than the April 2010 level of 21.8%, but it remains the worst among major U.S. industries. BLS says construction gained 5,000 jobs in April, according to preliminary numbers. However, BLS says total industry employment “has shown little net movement since early 2010, after having fallen sharply during the prior three years.” By sector, jobs in heavy and civil construction rose by 12,700 in April, more than offsetting losses in buildings
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.