Construction employment added 19,000 jobs on net in September, according to www.abc.org. On a year-over-year basis, the industry has expanded by 292,000 jobs—an increase of 3.9%.
The construction unemployment rate fell from 3.9% in August to 3.4% in September. The national unemployment rate for all industries fell from 3.7% in August to 3.5% in September as the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs.
Nonresidential construction added 13,100 jobs in September, with two of the three subsectors showing growth; nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 11,200 jobs, and nonresidential building added 2,400 jobs. Heavy and civil engineering lost 500 jobs.
“Today's employment report was terrific, which in this upside-down, inside-out economic environment means that it was truly terrible,” said Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Stock, bond and other investors are hunting for signs of slowing economic activity, particularly with respect to the labor market. Those signs did not emerge today. Despite elevated compensation costs, employers continue to hire aggressively. Not only does that help support additional inflationary pressure, but it also sends a signal to Federal Reserve policymakers that further aggressive rate tightening is necessary. If rates rise too dramatically, and they have already expanded substantially, the recovery in nonresidential activity would likely buckle.
“Despite rising borrowing costs and elevated risk of recession, most contractors remain upbeat regarding near-term prospects, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index,” Basu continued. “Backlog remains stable, and many contractors expect rising sales, employment and profit margins over the next six months. Many contractors also continue to report operating at capacity. Their primary issue is not insufficient demand for construction services, but rather a lack of access to skilled craft professionals.”