Construction unemployment rises to 13.7 percent in October


Following a strong 27,000 job gain in September, the nation’s  construction industry lost 20,000 jobs in October sending the unemployment rate  up to 13.7 percent, according to the November jobs report by the Department of  Labor. The construction unemployment rate increased from 13.3 percent in  September, but is down from 17.3 percent the same time last year said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

Nonresidential construction employment decreased by 4,500  jobs for the month with employment standing at 667,900 jobs. However, the sector  added 10,300 jobs or an increase of 1.6 percent from October 2010 levels.

The heavy and civil engineering sector added 3,700 jobs in  October and has added 6,000 jobs or 0.7 percent from the same time last year. In  contrast, the specialty trade contractor sector lost 22,100 jobs for the month  and has lost 6,400 jobs, or 0.2 percent, year-over-year. Within that sector,  nonresidential specialty trade contractor employment dropped by 22,500 jobs from  September and lost 20,700 jobs, or 1 percent compared to October 2010.

Residential building construction employment gained 3,300  jobs for the month and has added 3,100 jobs, or 0.6 percent, over the last  twelve months.

Across all industries, the nation added 80,000 jobs as the  private sector expanded by 104,000 jobs and government lost 24,000 jobs.  Year-over-year, the nation has added 1,501,000 jobs or 1.2 percent. The  unemployment rate stood at 9 percent in October.

““Due largely to the chilling effects of the soft-patch that  emerged in the nation’s economy in March upon the confidence of lenders and  developers, many construction projects that were set to break ground have been  put on hold,” Basu said. “This has translated into weaker activity in many  construction segments including architectural services and specialty trade  contractors.

“One of the implications of this has been a sharp reduction  in hiring in a segment that has been adding jobs recently, as witnessed in  today’s report,” said Basu.

“No private industry lost as many jobs as construction,” said  Basu. “Construction activity is likely to remain soft in the months ahead for a  variety of reasons, including stretched state and local government capital  budgets, the winding down of federal stimulus, and still disciplined  lending.” Read More.