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Construction Employment Dips in January

Construction employment dipped by 5,000 jobs between December and January even though hourly pay rose at a record pace in the past year, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released Feb. 4. Association officials said future job gains are at risk from several factors that are slowing projects.


Since January 2021 the industry has added 163,000 employees despite the decline last month. But the number of unemployed jobseekers among former construction workers shrank by 229,000 over that time, indicating workers are leaving the workforce altogether or taking jobs in other sectors, Simonson added.


Construction employment totaled 7,523,000 in February, which was 101,000 jobs or 1.3% less than in the pre-pandemic peak month of February 2020. However, the totals mask large differences between residential and nonresidential segments of the industry, Simonson said.


Nonresidential construction firms—general building contractors, specialty trade contractors, and heavy and civil engineering construction firms—lost 9,000 employees in January. Nonresidential employment remains 213,000 below the pre-pandemic peak set in February 2020. In contrast, employment in residential construction—comprising homebuilding and remodeling firms—edged up by 4,400 jobs in January and topped the February 2020 level by 112,000.

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