Construction employers added 5,000 jobs in September while the industry’s unemployment rate hit 11.9 percent, according to an analysis of new federal data released Oct. 5 by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that construction employment has been relatively flat for more than a year as growing demand for residential and some commercial projects has been offset by declining public sector construction activity.
“Despite the slight uptick in construction employment for the past month, the industry is a bit smaller than it was one year ago,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “It appears that for every rebounding market segment, there is another one that is shrinking.”
Construction firms employed 5.523 million people in September, up from 5.518 in August, Sandherr noted. Despite the monthly gains, however, the sector’s overall employment in September was 5,000 lower than one year earlier. The construction industry employs 2.2 million fewer people than it did six years ago when the sector’s employment peaked at 7.7 million workers.
Both residential and nonresidential construction added jobs in September, even as residential construction outpaced nonresidential for the year. Residential building contractors added 1,100 jobs in September and have gained 3,200 for the year. Meanwhile, residential specialty trade contractors added 2,300 jobs in September and 19,700 for the year.
Nonresidential building contractors added 1,100 jobs in September, but have lost 12,400 during the past 12 months.