Construction employment fell by 76,000 jobs last month, seasonally adjusted, according to Stephen Sandherr, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, in reference to employment numbers released August 7 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The last 12 months have seen 1,053,000 construction workers lose their jobs, emphasizing the negative impact the current economy is having on the construction industry in particular,” said Sandherr. He added that currently, 18.2 percent of construction workers are unemployed, nearly double the 9.7 percent overall unemployment rate, or 9.4 percent seasonally adjusted.

“While it is clear that the stimulus has helped prevent even greater job losses,” Sandherr continued, “it is apparent that the construction industry is suffering from low demand for commercial facilities, dwindling orders for new office buildings, declining state and local revenue, and the current economic conditions as a whole, including tight credit markets.

“These job figures clearly point towards the continued need for investment in the construction industry,” said Sandherr. “With stimulus funds slowly being spent, it is critical that both Congress and the Administration focus on hastening the disbursement of these funds, particularly for non-transportation stimulus construction projects. It is crucial that the stimulus money quickly finds its way into the industry, or thousands more construction workers will lose their jobs.”

In Utah, AGC of Utah president/CEO Rich Thorn remained optimistic that the local construction market will turn around before long.

“It’s certainly challenging to be in construction right now, but Utah’s unemployment is still under 5%, and even though construction unemployment is quite a bit higher than that, we believe that the market will get stronger and that we’ll remain busy building projects that improve our community.”