In a troubling sign for construction, the industry's unemployment rate showed no improvement in June after three straight months in which the rate declined, as the industry lost 22,000 jobs during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

The bureau's employment report for June, released on July 2, showed that construction's jobless rate for the month was 20.1%, the same as May's level, but worse than the June 2009 mark of 17.4%.

Anirban Basu, the Associated Builders and Contractors' chief economist, says that for construction, "it is clear that this represents another disappointing jobs report."

The Associated General Contractors' chief economist, Ken Simonson, notes that construction gained 49,000 jobs in March and April as home building and highway work heated up. But he notes that the industry lost 30,000 jobs in May and a further 22,000 in June as housing construction pulled back and the nonresidential sector continued to fall.

Construction's June jobless rate is still by far the highest among industry categories. The "other services" sector posted the second-worst June rate, at 12.3%.

Those rates for construction and other industries are not adjusted for seasonal swings. Construction's jobless rates tend to be lower in the busy period from spring through fall and rise in winter months.

The overall national unemployment rate improved in June, dipping to 9.5% from 9.7% in May. BLS reported that total non-farm employment fell by 125,000 last month, as 225,000 Census workers ended their temporary jobs. Those losses were partly offset by a 83,000-person gain in private-sector employment.

Construction Unemployment Rate (percent)
June 20.1
May 20.1
April 21.8
March 24.9
February 27.1
January 24.7
December 22.7
November 19.4
October 18.7
September 17.1
August 16.5
July 18.2
June 17.4
May 19.2
April 18.7
March 21.1
February 21.4
January 18.2
Note: Rates are not seasonally adjusted.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics