Construction Jobs Growth Stays Strong, 42,000 Gain in Feb.
Report , based on mid-Feb. data, doesn't seem to reflect possible impacts of coronavirus.
Construction’s jobs surge continued for the second-straight month as the industry’s workforce expanded by 42,000 in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.
The February numbers, contained in a BLS report released on March 6, follow a construction gain of 49,000 in January, as the bureau adjusted its initial preliminary figure upward by 5,000 for that month.
Construction economists point out that the industry's total workforce increased by 3% for the 12 months ended Feb. 29.
The Associated General Contractors of America noted that the BLS data were collected in mid-February. The report apparently doesn't reflect the still-developing impact of the coronavirus on the U.S. economy.
Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, said in a statement, "Seldom is there a jobs report that tells us less about the direction of the U.S. economy than this one."
Basu noted that because of the virus "the trajectory of financial markets and the broader economy has shifted markedly over the last two weeks."
He added, "While the level of construction activity is unlikely to be fundamentally altered in the near term —except for when sick workers are asked to stay home—these impacts will eventually catch up to the nation's construction sector."
The industry’s jobless rate showed mixed results last month. Construction’s February rate of 5.5% was an uptick from January’s 5.4%, but improved from the year-earlier level of 6.2%.
The BLS rates aren’t adjusted for seasonal differences.
Construction’s February jobs increases came across all industry segments, paced by a 25,600 increase in specialty trade contractors.
Buildings construction employment rose by 13,100 and the heavy-civil engineering sector added 3,000, BLS reported.
Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist, said in a statement, "Although some of the gains probably reflec unusually mild winter weather in much of the nation, there is no question that contractors have been upbeat about the volume of work available."
Construction wages climbed by an average 90¢ per hour, or about 3%, to $31.35, for the 12 months ended in February, BLS reported.