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Nonresidential Construction Adds More Jobs

The construction industry is likely to see a slowdown in the coming winter months, but a promising start was shown in November in part by the addition of 27,000 net new jobs. According to Associated Builders and Contractors' (ABC) analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the latest round of new jobs brings the industry's new added job total to 804,000.

About 75% of construction jobs lost at the start of the pandemic have now been recovered, ABC states, with nonresidential construction leading the way, adding nearly 12,000 net new jobs last month. The majority of jobs came from heavy and civil engineering at 9,500, while nonresidential building saw an increase by 3,600 jobs. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors, however, declined by 1,200.

"The economic momentum that began in May continues to wane," ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in the report. "While it is true that unemployment declined nationally, this result was largely driven by a decline in labor force participation. America's labor force has 4 million fewer workers than in February. Based simply on momentum, it is quite likely that one or more of the next three jobs reports will indicate a loss of employment."

Although Basu described the rise in jobs as "rather impressive," the economist said nonresidential construction activity is usually positive at the start of an economic downturn, which is what the industry is currently experiencing. However, a decline is common after time.

"If the U.S. economy continues to weaken into and through the winter, that will further postpone the nonresidential segment's complete recovery," he said.

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate 

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Saturday, 24 July 2021