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Construction Employment Up 11,000 in January

Feb. 2, 2024
On a year-over-year basis, industry employment has expanded by 216,000 jobs, an increase of 2.7%.

WASHINGTON, DC — The construction industry added 11,000 jobs on net in January, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. On a year-over-year basis, industry employment has expanded by 216,000 jobs, an increase of 2.7%.

Nonresidential construction employment increased by 7,600 positions on net, with growth in two of the three subcategories. Nonresidential specialty trade added 13,700 positions, while nonresidential building added 1,600 jobs on net. Heavy and civil engineering lost 7,700 jobs.

The construction unemployment rate rose to 6.9% in January. Unemployment across all industries remained unchanged at 3.7% last month.

“The construction industry added jobs for the 10th straight month in January,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “That was hardly the biggest story from today’s release, however, with total US payroll employment increasing by a staggering 353,000 positions. That’s nearly twice the consensus forecast and represents yet another economic indicator that has surprised to the upside.

“The construction unemployment rate stood at 6.9% for the month, which is tied for the third-lowest January rate on record,” said Basu. “As a result of labor scarcity, construction wages surged in January, increasing at the fastest rate since July 2023. With both the construction industry and the broader economy continuing to grow at a rapid pace, contractors will struggle to remain adequately staffed over the coming quarters, especially with a majority of contractors intending to increase their staffing levels over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index .”

Visit abc.org/economics for the Construction Backlog Indicator and Construction Confidence Index, plus analysis of spending, employment, job openings and the Producer Price Index.

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