Despite a strong first quarter, April construction unemployment remained largely the same, adding barely 1000, per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics report. This is much below the average gain of 24,000 construction jobs and the lowest monthly increase since June of 2015. Within the construction industry, jobs in construction of buildings rose by 8,200. Of that 8,200, 7,100 were in construction of residential buildings and 1,100 were in construction of nonresidential buildings. In the month of April, losses were seen in heavy and civil engineering construction jobs and specialty trade contractor jobs. However, jobs for nonresidential specialty trade contractors rose by 5,500, making up for a big loss (10,9000 jobs) in residential specialty trade contractors.
Weather may play some part in this slower than usual growth. The Northeast saw unseasonably cool weather which may have delayed construction and construction hiring to some extent. However, April’s below average construction job growth could be a reaction to slower economic growth in the last three quarters. We should expect to see “a modest rebound” in economic growth in the second quarter, per Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Inc. in Lexington, MA.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an overall increase in nonfarm* payroll employment for the month of April. The increase if 160,000 jobs was less than predicted and less than the average of 232,000 added jobs per month in the last 12 months.
Of the 160,000 added jobs, professional and business services, health care and financial activities saw the largest job gains. Job losses continued in mining. Though employment growth has averaged 232,000 per month in the last 12 months, the unemployment rate has remained largely unchanged at 5%. The number of unemployed persons is approximately 7.9 million people, which has seen little movement since August.
*Nonfarm- A statistic by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics representing the total number of paid U.S. workers of any business, excluding: general government employees, private household employees, employees of nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to individuals and farm employees
For more information, visit The Bureau of Labor Statistics website.