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News May 9, 2023

Construction employment added jobs in April

Construction employment added 15,000 jobs on net in April, according to Associated Builders and Contractors. On a year-over-year basis, the industry has expanded by 205,000 jobs—an increase of 2.7%.

The construction unemployment rate fell from 5.6% in March to 4.1% in April. The national unemployment rate for all industries fell from 3.5% in March to 3.4% in April as the U.S. economy added 253,000 jobs.

Nonresidential construction added 800 jobs in April, with gains in one of the three subsectors. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 10,700 jobs for the month; heavy and civil engineering lost 8,100 jobs; and nonresidential building lost 1,800 jobs.

“Despite adding just 800 net jobs in April, nonresidential construction payrolls have expanded at a faster pace than the broader economy over the past year,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Job creation continues to exceed expectations, and April saw the unemployment rate return to the lowest level since 1969. Put simply, the demand for workers remains significantly above the supply. This is especially true for contractors, a majority of whom intend to increase their staffing levels over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index.

“Beyond the labor market, signs of a softening economy are apparent,” Basu continued. “This week, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates again. Meanwhile, regional banks remain under pressure. While it is conceivable that the end of the banking crisis is near, credit conditions are likely to tighten further during the months ahead. This is especially problematic for commercial real estate, which faces a debt maturity wall over the next four years. Developers and other private purchasers of construction services are likely to suffer difficulty refinancing debt going forward, dampening demand for new construction.”

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