August 2017 Construction Employment:
Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced August’s employment situation. The construction industry continued to see growth, though slowing. The industry added 28,000 jobs in the month of August. The increase brought total employment in the industry to 6.918 million, and it made up for the 3,000 jobs that were lost in the month of July. Though slowing growth, August proves to be the strongest month for construction jobs since February 2017. Analysts expect growth to continue, given a strong demand in design services.
Despite this increase, officials in the industry are still seeing a labor shortage that is impacting the industry’s hiring efforts. The Associated General Contractors reported a recent survey showing that 70% of contractors throughout the country are struggling to recruit qualified workers.
Conversely, the AGC reported that construction unemployment– a statistic tallying up the number of unemployed persons whose last jobs were in construction – hit 448,000 in August. That was the lowest figure seen for August since construction unemployment started being tracked in 2000.
July 2017 Construction Spending:
The Commerce Department reported that construction spending fell for the month of July, marking the second month in a row with a drop in construction spending. Construction spending dropped 0.6% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.212 trillion. Despite the month-to-month decline, July’s construction spending figure is still 1.8% ahead of the year-ago mark, and spending in the first seven months of 2017 is 4.7% higher than the same period last year.
Private residential construction rose 0.8% in July to a rate of $517.5 billion, while private nonresidential construction fell 1.9% to a rate of $428 billion for the period. Public construction slid 1.4% during the period
Industry officials hope that construction spending will increase with President Trump’s plan for infrastructure improvements and expansions, though a formal proposal has yet to be delivered.