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News Nov. 8, 2022

Construction employment added jobs in October

Construction employment added 1,000 jobs on net in October, according to On a year-over-year basis, the industry has expanded by 266,000 jobs—an increase of 3.6%.

The construction unemployment rate rose from 3.4% in September to 4.1% in October. The national unemployment rate for all industries rose from 3.5% in September to 3.7% in October as the U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs.

Nonresidential construction added 300 jobs in October, with one of the three subsectors showing growth; nonresidential building added 3,200 jobs. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors lost 2,500 jobs, and heavy and civil engineering lost 400 jobs.

“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 Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “We can expect to hear many such ironic statements during the months ahead. A few days ago, we learned that America had 10.7 million available, unfilled jobs in September. More than 400,000 of these are construction industry job openings. Today, we learned that employers continue to hire, with the overall economy adding 261,000 jobs in October.

“For inflation to return to its 2% target, the demand for labor needs to weaken,” Basu continued. “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.”

Basu said inflation eventually will start to ease.

“The good news is that bad news will eventually arrive,” Basu said. “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.”


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