The construction unemployment rate worsened slightly in June from May and year-earlier levels but the industry did add 13,000 jobs during the month, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says.
The BLS employment report for June, released on July 6, shows that construction’s jobless rate rose to 4.7% last month, from May’s 4.4% and the June 2017 rate of 4.5%.
The rates aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations.
Construction's June jobs gain pushed the industry's total to more than 7.2 million, the highest level since May 2008 and a 4.1% increase over 12 months, the Associated General Contractors of America noted.
Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist, said construction's employment growth continues to outpace the rate of increase for the economy overall and observed that industry firms are "paying premium wages"—an average of $29.71 an hour in June—to draw and keep workers.
But he added that "the industry is having to rely more and more on workers without construction experience as the pool of unemployed construction workers has nearly evaporated."
All but one construction segment posted jobs gains in June, led by the heavy-civil engineering sector, which added 6,100 positions. The nonresidential buildings sector was the only one recording a decline, of 200 jobs, according to BLS.
Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, said that the June heavy-civil engineering numbers may be the most encouraging among construction sectors, because they are "an indication of stepped up infrastructure spending."
Basu added, "This comes as little surprise since the ongoing economic expansion has helped to strengthen the balance sheets of state and local governments, positioning them to spend more aggressively on capital projects."
Architectural and engineering services, which BLS categorizes separately from construction, added 6,800 jobs in June.
The overall U.S. unemployment rate edged up to 4.0% in June from May’s 3.8%, but improved from the year-earlier 4.3%. The economy added 213,000 jobs last month, BLS reported.