Construction employment added 44,000 jobs on net in October, according to www.abc.org. Overall, the industry has recovered 963,000—86.5%—of the jobs lost during earlier stages of the pandemic.
The construction unemployment rate fell from 4.5% in September to 4% in October. The national unemployment rate for all industries decreased from 4.8% in September to 4.6% in October as the U.S. economy added 531,000 jobs.
Nonresidential construction added 33,000 jobs in October, with all three subcategories registering gains for the month. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 19,300 jobs; heavy and civil engineering added 12,100 jobs; and nonresidential building added 1,600 jobs.
Associated Builders and Contractors Chief Economist Anirban Basu said economists’ belief that seasonal adjustments artificially suppressed statistical employment growth in September seems to have been correct as the employment market bounced back. However, employers continue to struggle with labor shortages, and job growth has slowed significantly since the earlier stages of the economic recovery.
“The expectation is that labor force participation will continue to pick up going forward, albeit gradually,” Basu said. “Over time, economic activity will trend toward normalcy: steadily dissipating inflation, fewer input shortages, slower wage growth and more typical construction delivery costs. Unleashing that dynamic will be critical to keeping the current recovery going. Notably, contractors expect sales to increase over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index.
“With workers remaining scarce, businesses have stepped up equipment purchases to boost productivity,” Basu continued. “Indeed, the most recent bout of labor shortages will prompt many contractors to increase their purchases of emerging technology and equipment. While those purchases, along with associated training costs, may limit cash flow in the short term, ultimately it will translate into faster productivity growth and expanded enterprise profitability in the more distant future.”