Construction Sector Employment Declines by 20,000 in May

A deeper dive into the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) total nonfarm payroll employment report for May, with an emphasis on the construction sector, reveals that total nonfarm payroll increased by 559,000 and the unemployment rate declined by -0.3 point to 5.8% percent. However, employment in the overall construction sector declined by -20,000 in May, following a revised decrease of 5,000 jobs in April. The May decrease in construction employment reflects job losses in the nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-16,800). Residential construction added 1,900 jobs in May, after a revised decrease of 10,100 jobs in April. Residential construction employment now stands at 3.0 million in May, broken down as 872,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction was 7,917 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 271,700 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 1,034,000 positions. In May, the unemployment rate for construction workers rose to 7.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis. This was the first increase in the past thirteen months. The unemployment rate for construction workers has been trending lower, after reaching 14.1% in April 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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