A Closer Look at the Construction Sector in March’s Nonfarm Payroll Employment Report

A closer look at the construction sector portion of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) March’s nonfarm payroll report, of Friday (4-2-21) with additional analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), reveals that the construction sector added 110,000 jobs in March. This following job losses in February (-56,000) that were likely weather-related. Employment growth in the industry was widespread in March, with gains of 65,000 in specialty trade contractors, 27,000 in heavy and civil engineering construction, and 18,000 in construction of buildings. Employment in construction still remains -182,000 below its February 2020 level. Broken down, residential construction employment increased by 37,000 in March, while non-residential construction added 73,100 jobs. Residential construction has now surpassed its February 2020 level, while only 64% of non-residential construction jobs lost in March and April of 2020 have been recovered. Aggregate construction industry (both residential and non-residential) employment totaled 7.5 million in March. Residential construction employment now stands at 3.0 million in March, broken down as 873,000 builders and 2.2 million residential specialty trade contractors. In March, the unemployment rate for construction workers declined to 6.6% on a seasonally adjusted basis. After reaching 14.1% in April due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate for construction workers has been trending lower for the past eleven months.

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