Highway Construction Employment Up

AASHTO Journal, 10 August 2012

Employment in the construction field increased in July and the construction unemployment rate fell to the lowest number in years, while general construction employment decreased, the Associated General Contractors of America reported last week.

AGC reports that the construction unemployment rate dropped to 12.3 percent, which is the lowest July rate in four years, while industry employment still dropped by 1,000 during the month. Officials at AGC attribute that to the number of people looking for work in different sectors.

“Employment levels in the construction industry have remained relatively stagnant for 2.5 years,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson in a statement. “The declining unemployment rate has more to do with frustrated job seekers leaving the industry than it does any improvement in demand for construction work.”

However, construction employment varied greatly among different segments. Heavy and civil engineering/highway jobs have seen the addition of 6,200 workers through July (.7 percent increase) and a total of 10,800 (1.3 percent) when compared to last July.

Residential construction employment is also on the rise, as the segment increased by 2,700 (.1 percent) from the previous month and 12,400 (.6 percent) from July 2011.

AGC expects the construction industry to see little or no growth until private sector investment increases.

“As long as the economy remains stagnant, construction employment levels will remain flat,” said AGC Chief Executive Officer Stephen Sandherr.

More information on AGC’s construction employment numbers is available at bit.ly/AGCnumbers.

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