Construction continued its extended streak of monthly jobs increases, adding 9,000 in April, but the increase was far below the March gain of 40,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

The BLS report for April, released on May 3, indicated that construction recorded its 13th consecutive monthly increase. But it was much more modest than construction’s average gain of 22,000 per month over the past 12 months, according to BLS.

Among construction industry segments, nonresidential specialty contractors recorded the strongest April results, adding 6,600 jobs; residential building gained 2,800.

The only segment to post a loss in jobs was residential specialty trade contractors, which shed 1,700.

Over the 12 months ended in April, construction posted an increase of 258,000 jobs, or 3.2%.

Construction’s unemployment rate showed mixed results. The April rate was 5.2%, down from March’s 4.1% but the April rate was up from the year-earlier mark of 4.1% .

The BLS jobs figures are adjusted for seasonal differences; its unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.

Manufacturing, Data Centers, Public Works Are Bright Spots

Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, said in a statement, “It is really quite remarkable that the nation’s nonresidential construction sector continues to add jobs so consistently in an environment characterized by elevated project financing costs.”

Basu said, "At the heart of growing demand for construction workers in America is the prevalence of megaprojects in many parts of the country, including major manufacturing plants, data centers and public works.”

In looking at construction segments, Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, said in a statement, “It appears that high interest rates are dragging down remodeling, homebuilding and apartment construction.”

Like Basu, Simonson says that companies working on data centers, manufacturing facilities and infrastructure projects "are continuing to add workers and would like to hire more.” 

Overall, the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in April, compared with an average of 242,000 for the previous 12 months. The unemployment rate edged up to 3.9%, from March's 3.8%