Nonresidential Construction Employment Ends 2019 on a High Note
The nonresidential construction sector ended 2019 with a bang, adding 20,000 net new jobs—an increase of more than 150,000 jobs (2%) compared to the prior year.
In a month-over-month (MoM) analysis by Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the data revealed an employment increase of 16,700 jobs last month, most notably in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (9,800 jobs); nonresidential building (5,100 jobs); and heavy and civil engineering (1,800 jobs). While unemployment in all industries remained at 3.5%, the construction unemployment rate saw a very small drop of 0.1 percentage points at 5%.
"This was another very good jobs report, though many analysts will emphasize some of the weaker points," ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in a report. "For instance, the [Jan. 10] reading came in at 145,000 net new jobs in December, short of the consensus estimate of an additional 160,000 jobs. Moreover, wage growth on a year-over-year basis was a bit softer than expected, and many of the jobs added in December were in lower-wage segments."
The minimal wage growth was still helpful, however, as Basu said it "allowed construction to generate 20,000 net new jobs in December—the majority of which were in the nonresidential construction sector—while sustaining a healthy level of backlog."
—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate