The U.S. construction industry added 20,000 jobs in August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released September 5. July’s estimate was revised upward from 22,000 to 31,000 net new jobs. Nonresidential construction added 5,500 jobs in August, which could be considered a bit soft, but the segment added 15,200 jobs in July (revised upward from 6,600), according to a report from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

“Today’s headline number of 142,000 jobs for the overall U.S. economy was disappointing but the nonresidential construction numbers continue to show a steady recovery,” says ABC chief economist Anirban Basu. “Employment among nonresidential specialty trade contractors expanded by 2,300 positions in August and nonresidential building construction was up by 3,200 jobs, which is consistent with ongoing expansion in demand for nonresidential construction services.

“While the national construction unemployment rate inched up to 7.7 percent, construction is a segment in which many executives complain about a lack of available skilled workers and rising unemployment must be interpreted more broadly,” adds Basu.
“The industry remains desperate for more jobseekers and increasing demand for construction workers implies that many of these jobseekers will find employment. Moreover, the industry’s unemployment rate has fallen 1.4 percent from where it stood one year ago.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ household survey, the national unemployment rate shed a tenth of a percent, falling to 6.1 percent. This small change is partially explained by a decline in the labor force, which shrank by 64,000 in August, pushing the labor force participation rate down to 62.8 percent.