Construction Employment Declines by 1,000 in July
August 3, 2012

Construction employment declined by 1,000 in July while the industry's unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since 2008, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

"Employment levels in the construction industry have remained relatively stagnant for 2 ½ years," says Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "The declining unemployment rate has more to do with frustrated job seekers leaving the industry than it does any improvement in demand for construction work."

Industry employment in July lower than in June by 1,000; it was up, however, by 0.1 percent from a year earlier-by 5,000, according to AGC.

Nonresidential construction employment was mixed, reflecting gains in highway and private nonresidential activity that were offset by shrinking public investment in schools and other infrastructure, according to Simonson. According to AGC, total nonresidential construction employment decreased by 3,800 (-0.1 percent) from June to July and 6,900 (-0.2 percent) over the last 12 months.

Within the nonresidential category, heavy and civil engineering construction firms added 6,200 workers (0.7 percent) in July and 10,800 (1.3 percent) since July 2011. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors cut 9,500 jobs (-0.5 percent) for the month and 19,200 (-1.0 percent) over 12 months. Nonresidential building contractors had mixed results, losing 500 employees (-0.1 percent) in July and adding 1,500 (0.2 percent) over the year.

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