The construction industry added 15,000 jobs on net in April, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On a year-over-year basis, industry employment expanded by 205,000 jobs, an increase of 2.7%.
Nonresidential construction employment rose by 800 positions on net, with growth in only one of the three subcategories. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 10,700 positions. The number of heavy and civil engineering jobs decreased by 8,100, while nonresidential building lost 1,800 jobs on net.
The construction unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% in April. Unemployment across all industries decreased to 3.4%.
“Despite adding just 800 net jobs in April, nonresidential construction payrolls have expanded at a faster pace than the broader economy over the past year,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Job creation continues to exceed expectations, and April saw the unemployment rate return to the lowest level since 1969. Put simply, the demand for workers remains significantly above the supply. This is especially true for contractors, a majority of whom intend to increase their staffing levels over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index.
“Beyond the labor market, signs of a softening economy are apparent,” said Basu. “This week, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates again. Meanwhile, regional banks remain under pressure. While it is conceivable that the end of the banking crisis is near, credit conditions are likely to tighten further during the months ahead. This is especially problematic for commercial real estate, which faces a debt maturity wall over the next four years. Developers and other private purchasers of construction services are likely to suffer difficulty refinancing debt going forward, dampening demand for new construction.”