Construction Employment Rises for the First
Time Since June 2007; Unemployment Rate Remains at 24.9 Percent
April 6, 2010
Payroll employment in the construction industry in March rose by
15,000, seasonally adjusted, the first gain since June 2007, according
to federal employment figures released today. The Associated General
Contractors of America hailed the increase but cautioned it may
not be sustained.
"This upturn was shared among all three nonresidential categories-building
construction, specialty trade contractors, and heavy and civil engineering
construction," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist.
"But both nonresidential and residential construction employment
remain lower than in January, suggesting some of the pickup may
have been a short-term rebound from exceptionally severe weather
Simonson noted that the industry's unemployment rate, which is
not seasonally adjusted, dropped slightly from 27.1 percent in February
to 24.9 percent in March but remained more than double the all-industry
level. "The persistence of depression-like unemployment in
construction is ominous for an industry that already faced challenges
retaining and attracting skilled crafts workers and supervisors."
Simonson pointed out that the industry continues to outpace the
overall economy in wage rates. Hourly earnings for all workers in
construction in March averaged $25.27, seasonally adjusted, 12.5
percent higher than the average for all nonfarm payroll workers.
Craft workers averaged $23.18 or 23 percent more than all production
and nonsupervisory workers.
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