Construction employment added 11,000 jobs on net in July, according to www.abc.org. The industry has added 886,000 jobs since July 2020, recovering 79.6% of the jobs lost since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The construction unemployment rate rose from 7.5% in June to 6.1% in July. The national unemployment rate for all industries decreased from 5.9% in June to 5.4% in July as the U.S. economy added 943,000 jobs.
Nonresidential construction added 2,900 jobs in July, driven by a gain of 7,500 jobs in the nonresidential specialty trade contractor category. Heavy and civil engineering lost 2,100 jobs on net, and nonresidential building lost 2,500 jobs on net.
Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu said despite challenges such as inflation, material shortages and the Delta variant of COVID-19, liquidity is leading to a rapid recovery mode in the U.S.
“Some of the capital that investors seek to deploy is invested in real estate, which translates into additional construction work,” Basu said. “While construction of new structures remains suppressed in a number of segments like lodging and office due to the dislocating effects of the COVID-induced downturn, there is considerable work underway in terms of modernizing existing structures. That helps explain why nonresidential specialty trade contractors added thousands of jobs last month while general contractors did not.
“Evidence of ongoing rapid recovery is consistent with the upbeat assessments contractors have put forth in ABC’s Construction Confidence Index regarding revenue, staffing and profit margin prospects over the balance of 2021,” said Basu. “Indeed, there is evidence that the lack of growth in nonresidential construction spending observed in recent months is due to supply constraints as opposed to a lack of demand for construction services. Some contractors are noticing that there are fewer bidders on emerging projects, suggesting that many contractors can no longer pursue additional work.”