Construction’s unemployment rate dropped again in September from August’s level and also was down sharply from its year-earlier rate, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.
The bureau said in a report released on Oct. 2 that construction’s September rate dipped to 5.5% from 6.1% the previous month and was greatly improved from the September 2014 level of 7%.
Last month’s 5.5% rate was the lowest September level for the construction industry since 2000, the Associated General Contractors of America noted.
BLS doesn’t modify those unemployment rates to account for seasonal differences.
Construction also picked up 8,000 jobs last month, boosting its overall workforce 3.3% to slightly less than 6.4 million, BLS said.
Specialty trade contractors posted construction’s best September jobs record, adding 8,700 positions. Buildings construction was up by 2,000.
But heavy-civil engineering construction lost 2,200 jobs during the month.
Architectural and engineering services, which BLS lists separately from construction, recorded a decrease of 200 jobs.
Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist, said in a statement, “Growth in the construction workforce has been slowing throughout 2015, just at the time that construction spending has accelerated to a multi-year high.” He added, “Contractors would love to hire more workers but there aren’t enough qualified craft workers or supervisors available.”
Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, said in a statement, “The monthly and year-over-year growth in employment are both consistent with the notion that construction wage growth will continue to accelerate.”
September’s overall national jobless rate was 5.1%, the same as August’s level. The economy added 142,000 jobs, a number that ABC’s Basu said was disappointing.
But he also noted that “residential and nonresidential construction remain two of the nation’s five leading growth segments.”