According to an analysis of data by the Associated General Contractors of America, the construction employment level hit a three-year high last month, adding 48,000 jobs in February. However, officials of the association warned that employment gains could be undermined if the government fails to reach a deal on federal investment levels later this month.
February 2013 marks the industry’s ninth consecutive month of job growth, showing an increase of 140,000 jobs from last year (2.5 percent increase). Jobs were added in both residential and nonresidential construction for the month and year. Residential construction saw an increase of 19,400 jobs for the month and 64,200 for the year, while nonresidential construction added 29,000 jobs in February and 75,700 over the year. As for unemployment, the industry’s rate dropped from 17.1 percent a year ago to 15.7 percent last month (not seasonally adjusted).
Whether or not these trends are able to continue greatly depends on if Washington officials are able to reach an agreement to fund federal operations known as a continuing resolution by March 27th. If Congress and the Obama administration fail to resolve the issue at hand, tens of billions of dollars worth of federal funding for infrastructure and construction projects could be shut down.
“While the new employment figures are encouraging, the construction industry’s recovery remains fragile,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Putting billions of dollars worth of construction projects on hold because Washington officials can’t set a budget threatens to undermine the sector’s recovery just as it is starting to heat up.”
To read the original AGC article, click here.