Tag Archive for 'construction employment'

ABC REPORTS: Nonresidential Construction Employment Ticks up Despite Dismal Overall Jobs Report

CEU2“Today’s jobs report was a stunner and construction was not spared as the sector lost jobs for the first time in 15 months.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Employment_4.3.15Nonresidential construction added 5,000 net new jobs in March, with nonresidential specialty trade contractors leading the way by contributing 4,400 new jobs, according to the April 3 Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary estimate. As a whole, the U.S. construction industry lost 1,000 jobs in March, while February’s construction employment estimate (29,000 new jobs) was unrevised. The residential sector also regressed in March, losing 2,800 jobs.

“Today’s jobs report was a stunner and construction was not spared as the sector lost jobs for the first time in 15 months,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Coming into the week, the consensus estimate for March’s net new job creation was in the range of 250,000. An ADP report released earlier in the week indicated that the U.S. private sector only added 189,000 jobs, which brought the consensus estimate closer to 200,000, however the initial Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimate for March fell well short of even that diminished expectation.

“The knee-jerk reaction is to blame the weather,” said Basu. “While that seems natural, the fact of the matter is that the latest employment release comes on top of a sea of other data indicating that the U.S. economy has been losing momentum since the third quarter of last year and retail sales and manufacturing-related data have been among the sources of disappointment.

“Weather serves as a potential partial explanation, but another possibility is that some of the slowdown in job growth is attributable to reduced activity in the nation’s energy sector,” said Basu. “While lower fuel prices are helping to support various forms of activity, the impact on oil producers has been jarring. Those operating in the oil exploration and production segments of the economy have come to dominate layoff announcements recently. It may be that the negative impacts of lower energy prices are felt more intensely in the short-term, but that the positive effects will become obvious later this year.”

The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.5 percent in March, though this is not necessarily a good thing. The labor force lost 96,000 workers in March after losing 178,000 in February. The labor force participation rate currently sits at 62.7 percent, equaling its lowest level since 1977. The construction unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent in March, a 1.1 percent decrease from March. The falling construction unemployment rate is not something to celebrate, though; this too is a direct reflection of a shrinking labor force.

Construction employment for the month and the past year breaks down as follows:

  • Nonresidential building construction employment expanded by 5,700 net new jobs for the month and is up by 31,600 jobs (4.6 percent) since February 2014.
  • Residential building construction employment shrank by 500 jobs in February, but is still up by 45,300 jobs (7 percent) on an annual basis.
  • Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 10,000 jobs for the month and employment in that category is up by 86,100 jobs (4 percent) from the same time one year ago.
  • Residential specialty trade contractors added 17,200 net new jobs in February and 122,500 total jobs (7.5 percent) since February 2014.
  • The heavy and civil engineering construction segment shed 3,700 jobs in February, but employment is by 35,700 positions (4 percent) on a year-over-year basis

To view the previous employment report, click here

ABC Reports: Nonresidential Construction Hiring Surges

CEU2“The U.S. economy added an average of 289,000 jobs per month during the final three months of 2014, indicating that momentum is surging as we transition into 2015.”—ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Construction employment december 2014The U.S. construction industry added 48,000 jobs in December, including 22,800 jobs in nonresidential construction, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary estimate released Jan. 9. November’s estimate was unchanged in this release, remaining at 20,000 net new construction jobs, but nonresidential construction’s November jobs figure was upwardly revised to 7,100 jobs.

“The U.S. economy added an average of 289,000 jobs per month during the final three months of 2014, indicating that momentum is surging as we transition into 2015,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “This represents good news for the construction industry in 2015 and perhaps beyond, particularly with respect to office construction, retail construction, and other segments that benefit directly from accelerating job growth and decreasing unemployment. Overall, the economy has built steady momentum since the end of last winter adding an average of 246,000 jobs per month in 2014, an increase of more than 50,000 jobs added per month compared to 2013.”

According to the BLS household survey, the national unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent in December. This represents the lowest level of unemployment since June 2008. The declining unemployment rate is most likely a result of a labor force that shrank by 273,000 persons in December, after expanding in the previous two months. The labor force participation rate fell by .02 percent and now sits at 62.7 percent.

“One of the most interesting aspects of the report is that construction unemployment ended the year at 8.3 percent on a non-seasonally adjusted basis,” said Basu. “While construction firm executives have been worried for years about the specter of construction skills shortages, the BLS data indicate there are plenty of people looking for jobs in construction. It is likely that many of these prospective workers lack the skills necessary to fill the openings construction firms are seeking to fill or live in areas where construction employment growth is much slower. Normally, high construction unemployment would imply slow rates of wage and compensation increases; however, ABC believes this is not the case. Because of the presence of skills mismatches, wage gains are likely to be sizeable in 2015 even in the presence of lofty rates of construction unemployment.”

Construction employment for the month and the past year breaks down as follows:

  • Nonresidential building construction employment expanded by 10,000 for the month and is up by 23,400 jobs, or 3.4 percent, since December 2013.
  • Residential building construction employment expanded by 800 jobs in December and is up by 44,500 jobs, or 7 percent, on an annual basis.
  • Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 12,800 jobs for the month and employment in that category is up by 76,900 jobs, or 3.7 percent, from the same time one year ago.
  • Residential specialty trade contractors gained 12,700 jobs in December and have added 87,600 jobs, or 5.6 percent, since December 2013.
  • The heavy and civil engineering construction segment gained 11,600 jobs in December and job totals are up by 57,900, or 6.6 percent, on a year-over-year basis.

To view the previous employment report, click here.

ABC Reports: Construction Unemployment Dips 0.7 Percent In July Despite 6,000 Job Losses

CEU2“The major source of construction employment loss was among nonresidential specialty trade contractors, which forfeited nearly 10,000 jobs in July.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Employment-August 2013Summary

Despite the loss of 6,000 jobs, the nation’s construction industry unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent in July on a non-seasonally adjusted rate, according to the U.S. Labor Department’s Aug. 2 employment report. That is down from 9.8 percent in June and 12.3 percent the same time last year. Overall, the construction labor force expanded from 8.08 million in July 2012 to 8.43 million in July 2013.

Nonresidential building construction employment increased by 300 jobs for the month and is up by 18,700 jobs, or 2.8 percent, since July 2012. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors lost 9,800 jobs for the month, but employment remains 1.8 percent higher compared to one year ago. Employment for heavy and civil engineering construction was down by 2,000 jobs for the month, but is up by 19,200 jobs, or 2.2 percent, on a year-over-year basis.

In comparison, residential building construction employment increased by 100 jobs in July and has expanded by 7,400 jobs, or 1.3 percent, during the past 12 months. Residential specialty trade contractors added 6,200 jobs in July and have added 84,700 jobs, or 5.8 percent, since July 2012.

Across all industries, the nation added 162,000 jobs, falling short of consensus expectations that were in the neighborhood of 183,000 jobs. The private sector expanded by 161,000 jobs and the public sector added 1,000 jobs. The national unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent in July, down from 7.6 percent in June and 8.2 percent in July 2012.

Analysis

“Today’s employment report is consistent with the June construction spending report, which indicated that overall construction spending declined by 0.6 percent and that nonresidential construction spending was off by 1 percent,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “That type of performance is not consistent with robust job creation, so it’s no surprise that the construction industry did not deliver net new jobs last month.

“The major source of construction employment loss was among nonresidential specialty trade contractors, which forfeited nearly 10,000 jobs in July,” Basu said. “This segment had been recovering nicely, but now appears to be feeling the effects of an economy growing at less than 2 percent.

“Meanwhile, the loss of 2,000 jobs in the heavy and civil engineering construction sector may be a partial reflection of sequestration,” said Basu. “Despite the job losses, the construction unemployment rate declined last month; however, much of the drop has been attributed to people leaving the industry.

“Financial markets responded to today’s data in a number of ways, including lowering interest rates,” said Basu. “All things being equal, lower rates are better for the U.S. nonresidential construction industry’s still sporadic recovery.”

To view the previous Employment report, click here

ABC Reports: Construction Industry Unemployment Rate Drops to 12.8 Percent in June

“The employment expansion in nonresidential construction is, at least in part, a reflection of the way the economy finished last year, which was on a relative strong note.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

 

With the addition of 2,000 jobs last month, the nation’s construction industry unemployment rate fell to 12.8 percent in June, down from 14.2 percent in May, according to the July 6 employment report by the U.S. Labor Department. One year ago, the construction unemployment rate was 15.6 percent.

The number of unemployed construction workers now stands at 1.04 million, down from 1.32 million a year ago. However, much of this improvement is attributable to a decline in the size of the construction workforce, which now totals 8.12 million people, down from more than 8.44 million people a year ago.

June’s construction employment gains were primarily the result of a 10,000 job increase among specialty trades contractors. Employment in the specialty trades contractor segment is up 15,900 jobs, or by 0.5 percent, on a year-over-year basis. Nonresidential specialty trades contractors added 7,600 jobs for the month and have gained 14,100 jobs, or 1 percent, during the past year.

In contrast, nonresidential building construction employment declined by 1,000 last month to 657,500. Employment in this category is still higher relative to a year ago by 4,300 jobs, or 0.7 percent. Heavy and civil engineering construction employment decreased by 2,000 jobs for the month and has fallen by 1,800 jobs, or 0.2 percent, from the same time last year.

Residential building construction employment slipped by 5,900 jobs last month and is down by 5,200 jobs compared to a year ago. Employment in this sector now stands at 556,600.

Overall, the nation added 80,000 jobs in June and 1.8 million jobs during the past twelve months. The private sector added 84,000 jobs, while the government sector lost 4,000 jobs. June represents the 28th consecutive month of private sector job growth in the United States. However, the unemployment rate remained unchanged for the month at 8.2 percent, down from 9.1 percent in June 2011.

Analysis

“Today’s employment report is a bit of good news for the construction industry, but is widely viewed as disappointing,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “During the first three months of this year, the nation added 226,000 monthly jobs on average. During the past three months, the average monthly gain has been just 75,000 jobs.

“Many economic forecasters expect sluggish job growth during the balance of the summer and into the fall due to ongoing global economic slowing and various sources of uncertainty in the United States, including issues with respect to federal tax and budgetary policy,” Basu said.

“The employment expansion in nonresidential construction is, at least in part, a reflection of the way the economy finished last year, which was on a relative strong note,” said Basu. “Fourth quarter 2011 GDP growth was 3 percent.

“The associated increase in investor/developer confidence likely pushed many projects ahead, which helps explain the 10,000 increase in jobs among specialty trades contractors in June,” Basu said. “The economy today is likely expanding at less than 2 percent, consistent with expectations of flat nonresidential construction spending and suppressed hiring over the near-term.

“Given recent progress in Europe regarding sovereign debt and banking issues, as well as some recent signs of legislative progress in the United States, the level of economic uncertainty may abate somewhat over the near-term,” said Basu. “That would help reignite nonresidential construction’s recovery, though improvement in industry fortunes is unlikely to be immediate.”

To view the previous employment report, click here.

ABC Reports: Construction Industry Unemployment Falls to 14.5 Percent in April

“The nation’s economy has managed to regain some semblance of momentum since last September, which should ultimately translate into better news for the construction industry.” —ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Despite a loss of 2,000 jobs in April, the nation’s construction unemployment rate fell to 14.5 percent, down from 17.2 percent in March and 17.8 percent in April 2011, according to the May 4 employment report by the U.S. Labor Department. Year over year, the construction industry has added 63,000 jobs or 1.1 percent.

The nonresidential building construction sector lost 1,100 jobs for the month but has added 6,000 jobs, a 0.9 percent increase year-over-year as April employment stood at 658,400. Residential building construction employment slipped by 2,500 jobs last month, but employment is still up by 700 jobs, as employment stood at 566,000 in April.

Nonresidential specialty trade contractors shed 8,400 jobs for the month but have gained 3,900 jobs, a 0.2 percent increase since last April. Residential specialty trade contractor employment was up by 6,300 jobs for the month and the sector has added 33,100 jobs, a 2.3 percent increase from one year ago. Heavy and civil engineering construction employment went up by 3,300 jobs for the month and has added 18,400 jobs, a 2.2 percent increase from April 2011.

Across all industries, the nation added 115,000 jobs as the private sector expanded by 130,000 jobs and the public sector shrank by 15,000 jobs. Year over year, the nation has added 1,816,000 jobs, or a 1.4 percent increase to job totals. The unemployment rate stood at 8.1 percent in April, down from 8.2 percent in March.

Analysis

“Today’s employment report represents the latest in a number of data releases indicating that the momentum in nonresidential construction does not carry into the new year,” said Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While overall construction employment was down just 2,000 jobs for the month, payrolls at nonresidential specialty trade contractors slipped by 8,400, an indication that more construction projects are being completed relative to construction starts.

“However, the nation’s economy has managed to regain some semblance of momentum since last September, which should ultimately translate into better news for the construction industry,” Basu said. “While today’s top-line job growth estimate of 115,000 was below the consensus estimates of nearly 170,000, previous months were significantly revised upward.

“For the second consecutive year, the nation’s economy has softened during the January-April period,” Basu said. “However, U.S. economic fundamentals are better now than they were a year ago as there is no immediate debt ceiling confrontation ahead.

“In addition, commodity and construction input prices have also been better behaved than a year ago which indicates that the broader U.S. economy, and eventually the construction industry, are positioned to expand,” said Basu.

“ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator (CBI) predicted the current lull in construction activity,” Basu said. “It is possible that commercial and industrial construction will remain soft for a few more months. We will know more when the 1st quarter 2012 report comes out on May 15.”

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