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Construction Sees Largest Monthly Job Increase in More Than 80 Years

The construction industry featured its latest accomplishment in May, adding 464,000 net new jobs—the largest monthly increase in more than 80 years, according to Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Although there were fewer jobs in May compared to the prior year, nonresidential construction employment added 237,000 net new jobs last month after having lost more than 570,000 in April.

Given the current economic climate, all industries across the U.S. have struggled, but construction is seeing improvement. ABC reported gains in three nonresidential subsegments in May, including nonresidential building, nonresidential specialty trade contractors as well as heavy and civil engineering. The construction unemployment rate also fell nearly 13%, while unemployment in all industries fell just about 13%.

"For contractors, this is purely good news," ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in the report. "With the economy beginning its recovery sooner and more dramatically than anticipated, fewer projects are likely to be postponed or canceled. Combined with rising contractor confidence, as indicated by ABC's Construction Confidence Index, this will also help accelerate the recovery of state and local government finances as tax collections surge, ultimately resulting in more monies available to finance infrastructure. That said, state and local government finances remain in tough shape, with many local government workers losing jobs in May."

However, Basu added, "these remain treacherous times." COVID-19 is still sweeping across the country, making resurgence possible as businesses reopen. It remains crucial that all industries, including construction, remain vigilant by taking the necessary precautions such as social distancing.

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate

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Thursday, 09 July 2020