Construction employment continued rising in the new year, adding 44,000 net new jobs in January. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry grew nearly 2% year-over-year, exceeding 140,000 jobs.
According to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), nonresidential construction employment made up more than half of the gain in construction employment, increasing by 23,8000 jobs. Since January 2018, nonresidential construction employment has risen 2.1%, or 97,700 net jobs.
"The U.S. economy is performing brilliantly, and one of the major beneficiaries of that performance is nonresidential construction," ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in a press release. "Contractors expressed confidence in the economy and in their own performance during ABC's most recent Construction Confidence Index, which appears to be justified. In addition, demand for construction workers remains elevated, an indication that contractors expect to remain busy for the foreseeable future.
In a breakdown of nonresidential job categories, nonresidential specialty trade contractors grew the most, with 17,200 jobs last month. This was followed by heavy and civil engineering jobs at 6,100 jobs and nonresidential building at 500. While the construction unemployment rate edged down to 5.4% over the past year, the overall unemployment rate increased to 3.6% in January.
—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate