Construction Unemployment Drops to Lowest Rate in Four Years
Construction employment declined by 1,000 in July even though the industry’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since 2008, according to an analysis of new federal data released by the Associated General Contractors of America.
The sector’s unemployment rate has steadily declined since 2009 as hundreds of thousands of out-of-work construction workers have left the industry seeking other opportunities, the association’s economist cautioned.
“Employment levels in the construction industry have remained relatively stagnant for 2-1/2 years,” said 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.”
The 12.3% unemployment rate for former construction workers was well below the rate in July 2011 (13.6%), 2010 (17.3%) and 2009 (18.2%), Simonson noted. He added that over those three years nearly 700,000 experienced workers have found jobs in other industries, returned to school, retired or otherwise left the workforce.
Association officials noted the industry was continuing to suffer from weak demand caused by slowing private sector growth and declining public sector investments in construction. “As long as the economy remains stagnant, construction employment levels will remain flat,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.
To read the Associated General Contractors of America news release click here.