Construction Jobs Jump in July after Early Year Slump

The U.S. construction industry saw 14,000 new jobs in July, dropping the unemployment rate for the sector a tenth of a percent to 4.5%, the lowest for the industry since October 2006. That gain follows some 27,000 jobs lost from April to June, according to an analysis by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

Most of the gains in July have been tallied in the nonresidential sector, which added 11,500 net new jobs, ABC said. On the residential side, only about 700 new jobs were created. Meanwhile, employment in the heavy and civil engineering areas grew by some 1,900 jobs, an improvement for these sectors that lost about 8,800 jobs from January to June.

“While hiring in July was strong both in the broader economy and in key nonresidential construction segments, ongoing job creation exacerbates the issue of rampant skilled labor shortage,” said Anirban Basu, ABC chief economist. “The implication is that wage pressures continue to build. Therefore, contractors will likely need to more aggressively pass along cost increases to purchasers of construction services in order to simply maintain their current level of profitability.”

Overall, the U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged in July at 4.9%, adding 225,000 jobs, with gains also occurring in professional and business services, health care and financial activities, while the mining sector continued its downward trend, losing 6,000 jobs in July, the Department of Labor said Friday.

- Nicholas Stern, editorial associate

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