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Nonresidential Construction Employment Expands As Construction Industry Unemployment Ticks Higher

The construction industry recovered 92.1% of the jobs lost during earlier pandemic stages and added 22,000 new jobs in December, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Nonresidential construction employment added 27,000 jobs in December:

  • 12,900 in nonresidential specialty trade
  • 10,400 in heavy and civil engineering
  • 3,700 in nonresidential building employment

Additionally, the construction unemployment rate rose to 5% last month, while unemployment across all industries fell from 4.2% in November to 3.9% in December.

"While it is true that the construction industry rate of unemployment ticked higher, this is likely because of seasonal factors as opposed to a rush of Americans joining the construction workforce," said Anirban Basu, chief economist for Associated Builders and Contractors. "The labor market remains extremely tight going into 2022. Contractors will be competing fiercely for talent. … That competition will become even more intense as dollars from the infrastructure package flow into the economy. Accordingly, contractors should expect another year of rapid wage increases in 2022. Those rising costs, along with others, must be included in bids if margins are to be sustained."

—Bryan Mason, editorial associate
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Sunday, 22 May 2022