The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has recently reported job gains of over 11,000 within the construction industry for the month of October, putting total construction employment at approximately 5,834,000 jobs. Increasing by 185,000 from last year, construction employment is now at its highest level in fifty months (since August 2009) after its fifth consecutive month of job increases.
Residential construction firms increased employment by 4,800 while nonresidential firms increased by 6,600 positions. Between each of these sectors, the strongest job gains were seen in residential building and nonresidential specialty trade contractor segments, each increasing employment by 4,500. The weakest job gains were found in heavy and civil engineering construction firms, adding only 200 positions.
Although the BLS report shows that construction unemployment has inched up from 8.5% in September to 9% in October, the rate has dropped significantly from the 11.4% recorded in October 2012. The industry’s recovery appears to be continuing on the upside, even after the federal government shutdown that took place during the first half of October. A lot of speculation surrounded how much the shutdown would hinder the growth of the construction sector, but the latest BLS report seems to indicate that the nationwide short-term impact was minimal. According to Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America’s chief economist, the government shutdown had little effect “because it did not significantly impact projects that were already underway.”