Construction August Jobless Rate Down from 2015, Up from July

Industry shed 6,000 jobs as non-residential’s losses outweighed residential’s gains

Engineering News-Record | By Tom Ichniowski
September 2, 2016

Construction’s unemployment rate continued its year-over-year improvement in August, but it slipped from July’s level as the industry lost 6,000 jobs during the month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest monthly employment report, released on Sept. 2, said construction’s August jobless rate declined to 5.1% from the year-earlier 6.1% but was up from July’s 4.5%.

The BLS unemployment rates aren’t adjusted for seasonal differences. Construction’s jobless rate tends to decline during the peak building season from spring to fall in much of the U.S.

The August jobs totals showed a split among major categories, as residential construction gained 10,800 positions but losses in all other segments outpaced those increases. Non-residential categories—buildings and specialty trades—shed a combined 10,700 positions, and heavy-civil construction’s workforce fell by 6,500.
Architectural and engineering services, a separate BLS category, posted an increase of 2,300 jobs in August.

Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, observed that even with August’s dip from July in construction jobs, the industry’s workforce has expanded by 199,000, or 3.1%, from the year-earlier level. He also said construction’s employment has climbed almost twice as fast as the overall U.S. workforce.

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