Construction jobs bounced back in April, adding 17,000 positions after shedding 10,000 in March, possibly because of bad weather during that month in some parts of the U.S., the Dept. of Labor has reported.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest monthly employment report, released on May 4, showed that construction's April jobless rate fell to 6.5% from March's 7.4%, but it was up from the year-earlier 6.3%.
BLS rates aren't adjusted for seasonal differences.
Associated General Contractors of America officials also observed that construction pay rose 3.5% in April compared with the April 2017 level, to an average $29.63 per hour.
All but one construction segment gained jobs in April, led by specialty trade contractors, whose combined workforce rose by 11,000. Buildings construction also gained 8,800 jobs.
Heavy and civil engineering construction posted the only decline among industry sectors, losing 3,400 jobs in April, according to BLS.
Architectural and engineering services, a separate BLS industry category, added 5,200 jobs.
BLS originally reported that construction lost 15,000 jobs in March, but in the new report the bureau revised the March loss to 10,000.
At Associated Builders and Contractors, which tracks non-residential construction, chief economist Anirban Basu noted that recent non-residential construction spending figures have shown weakness.
But Basu said in a statement that the new BLS report is "strong confirmation of the ongoing momentum" in the non-residential sector.
Stephen Sandherr, AGC of America president and CEO, said in a statement that many contractors are raising workers' pay and carrying out other strategies to attract new employees.
Sandherr said, "While these steps appear to be luring more construction workers back to the job market, firms report they would hire even more workers if they could find enough qualified candidates."
The overall national employment rate improved to 3.9% in April, from 4.1% in March and 4.4% in April 2017, BLS said.
The economy gained 164,000 jobs, compared with a pickup of 103,000 in March.
Story updated 5/7/2018 with comments from construction industry groups.
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