Construction Unemployment Continues to Grow

Despite being in the height of the construction season, the nation’s nonresidential building construction sector shed 1,800 jobs in July, according to the Aug. 6 employment report by the Department of Labor. Since July 2009, 38,700 nonresidential construction jobs, or 5.4 percent, have been lost. Nonresidential construction employment now stands at 680,100, according to a new analysis by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) organization.

In contrast, nonresidential specialty trade contractors gained 8,000 jobs in July. Still, the sector’s job force is smaller by 183,500, or 8.5 percent, from a year ago. The heavy and civil engineering sector saw a loss of 700 jobs last month after gaining 1,300 jobs in June.

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Overall, the construction industry shed 11,000 jobs in July and has lost 376,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Since the beginning of the recession, the industry has lost 1,918,000 jobs, a drop of 25.6 percent. July’s construction unemployment rate declined to 17.3 percent, down from 18.2 percent last year.

Total employment — which includes both private and public — fell 131,000 for the month of July, with the largest share falling in the government sector which lost 202,000 jobs. Total private employment gained 71,000 jobs in July. Since the beginning of the recession, however, total private employment has lost 7,837,000 jobs or 6.8 percent. The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.5 percent in July.

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