Construction's job gains showed more strength in June than in the previous month but the trends in the industry's unemployment rate varied, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

The latest BLS monthly report on the nation's employment picture, released on July 5, showed that construction added 21,000 jobs in June, compared with a revised increase of 5,000 in May.

Construction's June unemployment rate worsened to 4.0% from May's 3.2%, which was a noteworthy 19-year low, but the June rate also was an improvement from the year-earlier mark of 4.7%, BLS data show.

The BLS construction rates aren't adjusted for seasonal differences.

The best jobs results for construction came in the specialty trade contractors sector, which added 13,300 positions in June. Builidings construction picked up 6,100. Heavy-civil engineering construction also saw its workforce expand, but only by 1,500.

Architectural and engineering services, a separate BLS industry category, gained 3,400 jobs in June, according to the BLS report.

For the 12 months ended June 30, total construction industry employment was up by 224,000, or 3.2%, construction contractor group officials pointed out.

Construction earnings were up 3.2% in June, year over year, to an hourly average of $30.73.

Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, said in a statement that the construction industry's health is still strong. He added, "Finding and retaining skilled workers remains a primary issue, implying that compensation growth will continue to increase."

Stephen Sandherr. Associated General Contractors of America chief executive officer, said in a statement, "Construction firms continue to go to great lengths to recruit and retain workers during one of the tightest labor markets many of them have ever experienced."

Sandherr said that one factor adding to the labor problem is that a relatively small number of local school districts provide career and technical education courses that could direct students to careers in construction.