Construction Unemployment Falls to Lowest June Level Since 2001

August 2015

Construction employment held steady in June at the highest level in six years, while the number of unemployed workers with construction experience fell to the lowest total since 2001, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. AGC officials said that the new data indicates contractors are having a hard time finding enough qualified workers to meet growing demand in many parts of the country.

Construction employment totaled 6,380,000 in June, matching the revised May figure, which was the highest since March 2009, Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist noted. The number of unemployed workers who reported last working in construction totaled 522,000, the lowest amount since 2001. Average weekly hours for construction craft workers and other “production and nonsupervisory employees” rose to 39.9 hours, the highest June level since the series began in 1947.

Overall construction employment was unchanged from May to June but increased by 4.2 percent (259,000 employees) between June 2014 and June 2015, Simonson noted, adding that the growth rate was double the 2.1 percent increase in total nonfarm payroll employment over the past 12 months. Residential (building and specialty trades) construction employment dipped by 2,400 for the month but increased by 127,000 (5.5 percent) over 12 months. Nonresidential (building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering) construction employment rose by 2,700 for the month and 131,800 (3.5 percent) over 12 months.

Over the prior 12 months, job growth had averaged 22,000 per month in the construction sector, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.