Construction’s unemployment rate fell in November to 13.1% from October’s 13.7%. though the industry lost 12,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.  

The latest BLS monthly employment snapshot, released on Dec. 2, also indicated that construction’s November jobless rate was much better than November 2010’s rate of 18.8%.  It also was the lowest monthly rate since November 2008, when the figure was 12.7%.

Although the rate shows improvement, Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, said that “the lack of industry job growth means former construction workers are finding work elsewhere or leaving the workforce altogether.”

BLS's detailed breakdown of industry segments shows that jobs were lost last month in all construction sectors, except the residential specialty trade contractors category, which gained 3,000 jobs.

Heavy-civil construction shed 7,000 jobs last month, and buildings construction lost 4,200.

Architectural and engineering services, a potential leading indicator, also posted declines, losing 2,000 jobs in November.

Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, said the decline in nonresidential buildings employment was at least partly related to the overall economy’s weakness earlier this year. Basu added that the drop in heavy-civil jobs was “likely a reflection of the winding down of federal stimulus spending.”

The BLS unemployment rates for construction and other industries are not adjusted to account for seasonal variations.  In the highly seasonal construction business, jobless rates tend to worsen during cold-weather months, when the pace of building slows.