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Construction employment increases in February

Construction employment increased by 61,000 jobs in February, which is the best month of gains since March 2007, according to www.abc.org.

"Today's employment report could scarcely have been better," says ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. "In addition to a massive top-line number, construction employment surged by 61,000 net new jobs. In other words, construction was responsible for approximately one-fifth of net new job creation in February. On top of that, nonresidential construction accounted for the majority of net new construction jobs. Nonresidential construction job creation was broad based—supported by nonresidential builders, heavy and civil engineering, and specialty trade contractors alike.

"This is hardly where the good news ends," Basu continues. "Labor force participation rose and the national unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent for a fifth consecutive month. Worker compensation also expanded, but not in a way that suggests problematic inflation. While the construction industry unemployment rate increased to 7.8 percent, this is the lowest observed rate in February since BLS began tracking the industry's unemployment rate in 2000."

Construction employment increased 0.9 percent from January, and the sector added 254,000 net new jobs—an increase of 3.7 percent—since February 2017.

The construction industry unemployment rate, which is available only on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, increased by half a percentage point in February. The month-over-month increase likely is attributable to seasonal factors, and the industry's unemployment rate is a full percentage point lower than in February 2017.

"ABC has been indicating that 2018 would represent the best year for the U.S. economy since at least 2005," Basu says. "The February jobs report strongly implies that prediction likely will prove to be correct. Today's numbers should fuel additional consumer and business optimism, which should set the stage for strong construction spending and lofty backlog during the months ahead. That said, broader issues regarding inflation remain, including inflation potentially generated through the imposition of trade restrictions by major world economies."


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