Posted February 23, 2016

Construction employment highest since 2008

Industry unemployment falls to 17-year low.

While the pace of additional construction jobs has slowed and nonresidential contractors have reduced employee ranks, the overall construction industry employment numbers hit the highest level since 2008 and the industry's unemployment rate hit a 17-year low, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Find the AGC's complete news release here. The number of construction jobs added in January dropped compared to the previous three months' gains, possibly reflecting a slowdown in nonresidential construction or an inability for contractors to find qualified workers. 

“While the construction industry continues to add jobs, the January figures mark a significant decline in the rate of growth compared to the end of last year,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “It will take a few months to evaluate whether firms are running out of people to hire or if broader economic uncertainty is leading to a decline in demand for many types of construction services.”

Construction employment totaled 6,615,000 in January, the most since December 2008, and is up by 264,000 jobs compared to a year ago, a 4.2 percent increase.

Residential construction increased by 20,100 in January and by 149,500, or 6.2 percent, compared to a year ago.

Nonresidential construction employment declined by 2,300 jobs for the month but was up 115,000 jobs compared to last January, a 2.9 percent increase.