Confirming that the nation’s builders continue to struggle, the unemployment rate for the construction industry rose to 17.2% in September, up from 17% in August and 17.1% from one year ago, according to the October 8 employment report by the U.S. Labor Department. The construction industry lost 21,000 jobs in September yet still gained 8,000 jobs for the quarter due to a 31,000 job increase in August. Over the past 12 months, the industry has lost 210,000 jobs or 3.6%.

In contrast, nonresidential building construction gained 1,600 jobs in September. For the third quarter, nonresidential building construction employment gained 3,900 jobs. However, on a year-over-year basis, the subsector has lost 17,200 jobs, or 2.4 %, as nonresidential building construction employment stood at 686,600 in September.

The nonresidential specialty trade contractor subsector lost 19,500 jobs in September but was positive with an increase of 11,600 jobs for the third quarter. Nevertheless, over the past 12 months, nonresidential specialty trade contractor employment is down by 108,400 jobs, or 5.1%. Heavy and civil engineering construction lost 200 jobs in September, marking the first monthly loss since May. Heavy and civil engineering construction gained 18,400 jobs for the quarter and 8,500 since September 2009.

Meanwhile, residential building construction lost 1,100 jobs for the month, 10,200 jobs for the quarter, and 37,200 jobs from the same time last year.

Total employment across all industries was down 95,000 in September, marking the fourth straight monthly loss as employment shrank by 393,000 jobs from June through September. Year-over-year, total employment is up by 344,000 jobs or 0.3%. Private sector employment increased by 64,000 jobs in September, 274,000 in the third quarter, and 593,000 over the last 12 months. However, 14.8 million people remain out of work as the national unemployment rate in September remained flat at 9.6%.

Source: Associated Builders and Contractors