Construction Oct. Jobless Rate Falters Despite Gain of 10,000 Jobs
Construction’s unemployment rate worsened in October on a monthly and year-over-year basis, though the industry did add 10,000 jobs during the month, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.
The BLS report, released on Nov. 1, showed that the construction jobless rate rose to 4.0% from September’s 3.2% and also was up from the year-earlier 3.6% level.
The bureau’s unemployment rates aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations.
Construction's workforce grew by 148,000 for the 12 months ended in October, a 2% increase. Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America's chief economist, observed that the 2% growth was the slowest for the industry in nearly seven years, but also said it was still stronger than the 1.4% rise in overall nonfarm employment.
Among construction sectors, the heavy-civil construction category, which includes infrastructure work, posted the strongest jobs result in October, adding 6,000 positions, according to BLS.
Residential building gained 2,900 jobs and the residential specialty trade contractors segment saw its workforce expand by 2,200.
On the down side, the nonresidential building category shed 1,700 jobs and nonresidential specialty trade firms lost 300.
Architectural and engineering services, which BLS categorizes separately from construction, added 2,500 jobs last month.
Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, said in a statement that nonresidential construction has added jobs in the past three months but "the segments most closely tied to commercial construction, including retail and lodging, have slowed substantially."
He also noted that the Commerce Dept.'s Oct. 30 report on third-quarter gross domestic product showed a 15% decline in spending on structures, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate. That was "a rather substantial dip," Basu said.
Construction workers’ average hourly pay climbed to $30.95 in October, up 72¢, or 2.4%, from the year-earlier level. The pay figures are seasonally adjusted.