Construction posted strong employment results In October, adding 44,000 jobs—with gains in all sectors—and the industry’s unemployment rate was the lowest in more than two years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.
The latest BLS monthly look at the nation’s employment picture, released Nov. 5, shows that construction’s jobless rate fell to 4.0% in October, from September’s 4.5%, and was much improved from the year-earlier level of 6.8%.
The industry’s October rate also was the lowest mark since September 2019’s 3.2%.
Construction's October jobs increases came in every industry segment, led by nonresidential specialty trade contractors, which added 19,300 positions.
Heavy and civil engineering construction, which includes infrastructure work, also was on the plus side, gaining 12,100 jobs.
Building construction was up, too, but more modestly. Residential building added 1,800 jobs and nonresidential building gained 1,600.
Nevertheless, total construction employment of 7,498,000 is still down by 150,000, or about 2%, from the pre-pandemic February 2020 level.
Architectural and engineering services, which BLS categorizes separately from construction, added 1,800 jobs in October.
Construction Economists' Analyses
Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, said in a statement, "It is encouraging to see continuing job growth in nonresidential construction, but the industry remains far behind the overall economy in recovering all of the job losses from the pandemic."
Simonson added, "Finding workers is a challenge after other sectors have [been] hiring for much longer."
At Associated Builders and Contractors, which focuses on nonresidential construction, Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in a statement, "Over time, economic activity will trend toward normalcy: steadily dissipating inflation, fewer input shortages, slower wage growth and more typical construction delivery costs."
Basu added, "Unleashing that dynamic will be critical to keeping the current recovery going." He said ABC's Construction Confidence Index indicates that contractors expect to see increased sales over the next six months.
Overall, U.S. employment rebounded from disappointingly low September results and climbed by 531,000. Moreover, the jobless rate dipped by 0.2 percentage point, to 4.6%, BLS said.