Construction gained 25,000 jobs in January, continuing the industry’s long streak of monthly employment increases, but its unemployment rate reflected mixed results, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
The bureau’s latest monthly employment report, released Feb. 3, also shows that construction’s jobless rate moved up to 6.9%, from 4.4% in December, but the rate also was down from the the year-earlier level of 7.1%.
The BLS numbers also show that construction’s total employment rose by 294,000, or 3.9%, in the 12-month period ended in January, to a total of 7,884,000. BLS also noted that construction added an average of 22,000 jobs per month in 2022.
The BLS unemployment rate statistics are not adjusted for seasonal differences. But its job figures are seasonally adjusted.
All but one of construction’s segments recorded job increases in January, paced by the nonresidential specialty trades contractors category, which added 16,500.
The residential specialty trade contractors segment also was up, gaining 5,400 jobs, and nonresidential building posted an increase of 4,000.
The outlier was heavy and civil construction, whose employment declined by 1,200 positions.
"Construction employment and pay gains outpaced the economy as a whole in the past year, showing that demand for projects remains strong," Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, said in a statement.
Average hourly pay for construction production and nonsupervisory workers jumped by 6.2% in January from the year-earlier level, to $31.44, Simonson said. He noted that the construction increase topped the 5.1% gain for the private sector.
Overall, the nation’s employment surged by 517,000 in January and the unemployment rate edged downward to 3.4%, from December’s 3.5%, BLS reported.
The large overall January gain in jobs "strongly suggests that the Federal Reserve has more work to do," Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, said in a statement.
Basu added, "While contractors may be thrilled to hear that the labor market remains strong, associated upticks in borrowing costs increase the likelihood of a recession sometime later this year."