Tag Archive for 'construction employment'

ABC Reports: June Construction Unemployment Rates Improve in 45 States from 2014

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Analysis by Bernard Markstein

Construction employment stalled nationally on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis in June. However, as expected, not seasonally adjusted (NSA) employment increased from May. The result was that 38 states experienced a decline in their estimated NSA construction unemployment rate.

Construction activity and employment continues to improve from a year ago. Thus, on a year-over-year basis, the NSA construction unemployment rates for the country and 45 states were down in June.

For the first half of the year, SA construction jobs rose 105,000, while the industry added 262,000 jobs from June 2014 to June 2015 on an NSA basis.

The Census Bureau reported on July 1 that total SA nominal (current) dollar construction spending increased 0.8 percent in May. Nonresidential construction spending, which struggled in 2014, has advanced for four consecutive months. Total construction spending increased for six months straight.

The Top Five States

The five states with the lowest construction unemployment rates were:

  1. South Dakota*
  2. Nebraska*
  3. North Dakota
  4. Idaho and Montana (tie)

* Unemployment Rate for Construction and Mining

All of the top five states are in the same geographic region, although the Census Bureau places Idaho and Montana in a different census division (West North Central for Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota; Mountain for Idaho and Montana). Wyoming, which would fit in neatly with this group (part of the Mountain census division), was just out of the top five at number six (up from number eight in May).

Four of the top five states were also among the top five in May with a somewhat different order. South Dakota moved into the number one spot from being tied for second with North Dakota in May. Nebraska slipped into the second position from the first in May.

North Dakota fell to third place with the decline in its position, undoubtedly largely due to the slump in oil prices and the resulting slowdown in exploration and drilling new wells. Nonetheless, both the construction unemployment rate and the overall state unemployment rate are at a low level that other states would envy.

Fourth place was a tie between Idaho and Montana. For Idaho, June’s ranking was an improvement from its number seven position in May. Montana moved up from fifth place in May based on revised data (it had previously been in fourth place). Maryland, with a construction and mining unemployment rate,  took over Montana’s fourth place in May based on revised data (originally reported as number five) but fell to tenth place in June in a tie with Utah, which also held tenth place in May.

The Bottom Five States

The five states with the highest construction unemployment rates (from lowest to highest) were:

  1. New Mexico
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Georgia and West Virginia (tie)
  4. Mississippi

Three of the states with the five highest construction unemployment rates in May were among the five highest in June: Georgia, Mississippi and Rhode Island. For the second month in a row, Mississippi had the highest rate in the nation. On the positive side, the estimated construction unemployment rate for all 50 states fell below 10 percent for the first time since October 2014.

Georgia and West Virginia were tied for second highest in June. Georgia also had the second highest rate in May based on revised data (originally reported as third highest). West Virginia moved from tied with Connecticut and Missouri for eleventh highest in May to its tie with Georgia for second highest rate in June. West Virginia was one of five states with a year-over-year increase in their estimated construction unemployment rates and one of 12 states with an increase from their May rate. Among those 12 states, West Virginia along with New Hampshire had the largest monthly increase—1.6 percent.

Rhode Island moved from fifth highest in May based on revised data (originally reported as sixth highest) to fourth highest in June. New Mexico took Rhode Island’s fifth place position in June moving down from 17th highest in May.

New Jersey and South Carolina, which tied for third highest in May based on revised data, were sixth and seventh highest, respectively, in June. Alabama and California tied with South Carolina for seventh highest in June. In May, California’s construction unemployment rate was also seventh highest, while Alabama’s rate was sixth highest based on revised data (originally reported as fifth highest).

State_RankingRead more on ABC’s website.

Background

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) launched its state-by-state economic analysis earlier this year with the release of economist Bernard M. Markstein’s analysis of construction’s contribution to each state’s gross domestic product (GDP). ABC will be releasing Markstein’s next analysis of GDP data August 11, 2015

Unique to ABC, Markstein’s state-level construction unemployment estimate and analysis of state-level construction job markets for June is below. This analysis is produced monthy in addition to ABC’s existing national economic data and analysis. Background on how the data was derived and Markstein’s methodology is available on ABC’s website. 

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.