The Associated Builders and Contractors reported March 4 that the construction industry added 60,000 net jobs nationally in February, per its analysis of data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The industry has recovered 99% of the jobs lost earlier in the pandemic.
Nonresidential construction employment increased by 29,400 positions nationally in February and is up 3.9% over the past 12 months, while the residential sector added 31,000 in February and is up 4.5% over the past 12 months. The construction unemployment rate fell to 6.7% in February, which remains higher than the all-industries number of 3.8%.
“Bottom line: The U.S. economy is charging into the post-pandemic world with significant momentum, and nonresidential construction is part of that story,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu in a prepared statement. “At the heart of America’s economic momentum is rapid workforce growth, with more people re-entering the workforce to take advantage of higher wages and to better contend with rapidly rising prices.
“Evidence indicates that contractors have had a somewhat easier time filling available positions recently,” said Basu. “There are also indications that supply chain issues have improved slightly, though the Ukraine/Russia war may create new issues on that front. With demand strong and the supply side of the economy in repair, 2022 is setting up to be a strong year for contractors. At some point, federal infrastructure dollars will begin to flow more freely, and that will help support additional contractor backlog, which declined to 8.0 months in ABC’s latest Construction Backlog Indicator report.
Basu said that concerns remain, citing lower overall federal infrastructure spending in 2022 along with inflation, rising interest rates, and elevated oil prices.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics report released in January 2021 found that New Jersey had the third-lowest share of employment in construction of any state in the country, then at just 3.6% of jobs compared to 5.2% nationally and 8.5% in Wyoming, which has the highest share of employment in construction.
Using BLS data, the ABC reported in December that construction unemployment was down in every state nationally from a year ago. New Jersey, however, had some of the highest remaining construction unemployment at 8.3%, compared to the lowest rate of construction unemployment in Nebraska at 1.3% and the highest rate in Alaska at 10%.