Nearly 17,000 new jobs have been added by the construction industry in November 2013 making the sector’s employment level reach the highest it’s been since August of 2009. The industry’s unemployment rate has fallen to 8.6 percent. However, that’s still employment is still nearly 1.9 million below peak levels in 2006. This data comes from an analysis done by the Associated General Contractors of America. The Association also notes that this is probably due to construction spending levels hitting a four year high in October.
These numbers are encouraging but growth is still uneven between the sectors with in construction such as homebuilding, private non residential and the public sector. There will likely be continuing variations in growth in these areas.
Residential construction firms added 8,400 jobs in November while nonresidential construction firms added 7,900 jobs. Every segment of the construction industry has added jobs but the segment to add the least jobs is the heavy and civil engineering jobs. It is the heavy and civil engineering sector that is most likely to perform federal construction work ; they only added 200 jobs. Residential specialty trade contractors added the most jobs at 7,100.
Between November 2012 to November 2013 the number of unemployed construction workers dropped from 988,000 to 706,000, a decline of 282,000. However, the industry only added 178,000 jobs during this same time period. It seems many construction workers are leaving this line of work whether to seek work in different area or to simply retire. This shrinking pool of workers may be why so many firms say they’re having trouble finding qualified workers.
These new employment numbers could cause problems for the construction industry…such as finding enough qualified workers. Additionally, the heavy and civil engineering sector continues to struggle with uncertainty about federal investments in infrastructure and such.