The construction industry has very nearly made a complete recovery, regarding employment at least, from 2008, the economic Annus Horribilis (Latin for Horrible year) of anyone under age 90.

According to figures released by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this month, employment in the construction industry, on a national level, has returned to levels last seen a decade ago.

California construction employment has still not completely recovered, but is better. In May the number working in our industry stood at 856,000 compared to 943,000 in 2008. Not good enough, mostly because of the lagging numbers for residential construction here.

Nationally, the U.S. construction industry added 13,000 net new jobs in June after adding 29,000 net new jobs in May (revised upward from 25,000+), according to an analysis by the Associated Builders and Contractors of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry has added 282,000 net new jobs during the past calendar year, a 4.1 percent increase.

Nonresidential construction employment increased by 8,600 net jobs for the month. The majority of that growth came from the heavy and civil engineering subsector, which added 6,100 net jobs. The nonresidential building subsector lost 200 net jobs in June after losing 5,000 net jobs in May.

The construction industry unemployment rate increased to 4.7 percent in June, 0.3 percentage points higher on a monthly basis and 0.2 percentage points higher on a yearly basis. The national unemployment rate for all industries increased to 4 percent largely due to an expanding labor force, meaning that those millions sitting on the sidelines are starting to actively search for work.

“Today’s employment report represents a source of encouragement for most contractors,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “There is evidence of ongoing hiring in both public and private construction categories. Perhaps most encouraging was the 6,100 net new jobs added in the heavy and civil engineering component, an indication of stepped-up infrastructure spending.”

This comes as little surprise since the ongoing in the Trumpera economic expansion has helped to strengthen the balance sheets of state and local governments, positioning them to spend more aggressively on capital projects.

By Wes May ECA Executive Director
Email: [email protected]