Construction employment remained on its upward trend, adding 11,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, with the industry recording its 10th consecutive monthly increase. Architectural, engineering and related services, which are categorized separately from construction, posted an increase of 9,900 jobs in January.
Almost all construction segments posted gains last month, led by the nonresidential specialty trade contractors category, which showed an increase of 13,700 positions.
The only segment that lost jobs was heavy and civil engineering construction, which shed 7,700 positions.
The Associated General Contractors of America noted that the increases came even though widespread cold weather delayed projects' progress.
As construction economists noted, the total employment increased by 216,000, or 2.7%, for the 12 months ending in January.
"Although job gains were modest last month, other evidence suggests there is still lots of demand for workers," Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist, said in a statement.
For example, Simonson points to construction wage increases rising faster than in other industries, as well as "near-record" job openings and gains in overall construction spending in December.
Jobless Rate: Mixed Picture
One negative note in the bureau's report was that construction's unemployment rate rose significantly in January, to 6.9%, from December's 4.4%. But on a year-over-year basis, the industry's jobless rate was flat compared with the January 2023 level.
Construction's rate for last month was "tied for the third-lowest January rate on record," says Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist.
The bureau's jobs figures are adjusted for seasonal variations; the unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.
Overall, the U.S. gained 353,000 nonfarm jobs in January–a "staggering" level, Basu says.