An Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released Nov. 4 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the construction industry added 1,000 jobs on net in October.
On a year-to-year basis, industry employment has risen by 266,000 jobs, an increase of 3.6%, according to ABC‘s analysis.
Nonresidential construction employment rose by 300 positions on net, with growth in only one of the three subcategories. Nonresidential building added 3,200 net new jobs, while nonresidential specialty trade and heavy and civil engineering lost 2,500 and 400 jobs, respectively, according to the analysis.
The industry’s unemployment rate rose to 4.1% in October. Unemployment across all industries rose from 3.5% in September to 3.7% last month.
“The country’s job market remains strong, and that means we remain in a bad place because, in this economic environment, good news is bad news and vice versa,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.
Construction industry job openings made up approximately 400,000 of the 10.7 million openings nationwide in September.
“For inflation to return to its 2% target, the demand for labor needs to weaken,” said Basu. “We’re not there yet, which means that the current cycle of raising interest rates will continue. Among other things, that stands to weaken demand for construction services as borrowing costs ramp higher amid ongoing labor shortages and elevated materials prices. Due to those factors, the construction industry added just 1,000 net new jobs last month, the slowest growth since April. The good news is that bad news will eventually arrive. As the economy slows further and recessionary conditions take hold, inflation will dissipate as demand for goods and services weakens. While it is unfortunate that economic stakeholders have to wait for bad news before good news arrives, contractors still have healthy backlogs, according to ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator, and that will carry many through 2023 even if a recession arrives in America next year.”