Friday, December 7, 2012

Residential construction jobs hit new lows in November

November saw a decline in US construction jobs. In particular, the number of residential construction jobs hit a new multi-year low.
AGC: - Construction employment declined by 20,000 jobs in November while the industry’s unemployment rate hit 12.2 percent, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The construction employment figures likely reflect the fact many contractors have already cut staff and delayed hiring new employees because of the threat of the “fiscal cliff,” according to results of a survey of member firms the association also released today.

“It is discouraging that construction employment is still struggling after more three years of expansion in the overall economy,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “As disappointing as these numbers are, they will only get worse if Congress and the White House allow huge tax increases and spending cuts to occur on January 1.”
Construction firms employed 5.514 million people in November, down from 5.534 in October, Simonson noted-a decrease of 0.4 percent. The sector’s overall employment in November is 6,000, or 0.1 percent, lower than one year earlier when firms employed 5.520 million workers. Both residential and nonresidential construction lost jobs in November, with nonresidential construction suffering significantly more job losses than residential construction for the month.

Residential contractors lost 3,600 jobs in November, as residential building contractors lost 6,800 employees while residential specialty contractors added 3,200 new workers.

Resi housing construction jobs (THOUSANDS, SA, Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

At least through October, housing starts were on the rise. Single unit permits were also at recent highs. But so far this has not translated into more construction jobs.

Source: The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Once again, some blame it on Sandy. Perhaps. Over the next few months the "Sandy effect" should be a positive, as reconstruction goes into full swing. For now however, the situation in Washington is not helping matters.
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