Construction employment increases in November

December 8, 2021

Construction employment added 31,000 jobs on net in November, according to Overall, the industry has recovered 998,000—87%—of the jobs lost during earlier stages of the pandemic.

The construction unemployment rate rose from 4% in October to 4.7% in November. The national unemployment rate for all industries decreased from 4.6% in October to 4.2% in November as the U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs.

Nonresidential construction added 20,800 jobs in November, with all three subcategories registering gains for the month. Heavy and civil engineering added 8,100 jobs; nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 6,800 jobs; and nonresidential building added 5,900 jobs.

Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu said although economists were expecting the economy to add 600,000 jobs, there are many positive indications from the report, including the fact that the labor force participation rate rose to 61.8% from 61.6%—possibly spurred by inflation.

“What’s more, the November figures indicate ABC’s Construction Confidence Indicator has been correct in predicting construction employment growth during the latter stages of 2021,” Basu said. “For the most part, contractors indicate that they remain busy with sufficiently healthy backlog. Accordingly, hiring remains brisk. The expectation is that, during the months to come, a growing number of public construction projects, whether involving roads and bridges, schools, rail or other segments, will begin. In short, nonresidential construction employment growth is poised for ongoing expansion in 2022.

“As always, there is uncertainty,” Basu continued. “The Omicron variant hovers over the economy like a dark cloud. Economists have little idea what the impact of the new variant will be, but there are scenarios suggesting that it could cut growth next year by as much as half. There are also scenarios where there will be no discernible impact. Only time will tell. What is known is that contractors will continue to struggle to hire, which strongly signals ongoing construction wage pressures throughout the year to come.”

Tags: Workforce | Trends


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