Construction's jobless rate improved in April, declining to 17.8% from March's 20%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Last month's figure also was markedly better than the industry's April 2010 level of 21.8%, but construction's rate remained the worst among major U.S. industries.

BLS's latest monthly employment update, released on May 6, shows that construction gained 5,000 jobs in April, according to preliminary numbers.
But the bureau also observed that total construction employment "has shown little net movement since early 2010, after having fallen sharply during the prior three years."

Looking at construction segments, heavy and civil construction recorded an increase of 12,700 jobs in April, more than offsetting losses in the buildings and specialty trade contractors categories.

In the architectural and engineering services industry--which is separate from the BLS construction category--employment rose by 5,600 in April.

April was the seventh-straight month in which construction's unemployment rate improved over the year-earlier levels.

The bureau's jobless rates for construction and other industries are not adjusted for seasonal variations. Construction volume is highly seasonal, and its unemployment rates tend to improve as building picks up in the spring.

Still, at 17.8%, construction continued to have by the worst unemployment rate among industries. Agriculture posted the second-highest April level, at 13.7%.

The overall U.S. unemployment rate rose in April, to 9.0%, from March's 8.8%, bringing the level back to where it was in January.