Employment Levels Decline

The number of electricians in the workforce decreased 5.9% from May 2001 to May 2002 due to the slowing construction market and soft economy. After peaking in 2000, the number of employed electricians has dropped back near 1997 levels, when 61,414 electrical contracting establishments employed 641,985 electricians.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census

Market Snapshot

Construction project spending was flat in July, according to a report by the Commerce Department. Spending fell by 1.7% from May to June, but analysts predicted a 0.4% decline in July. Instead, the spending remained flat, and the government's spending on large projects helped offset the weakness in the commercial building sector. Here's a quick look at how some of the markets are faring in the stalled economy.

  • Spending on all commercial projects by private builders fell by 2.2% in July to a rate of $162.1 billion, the lowest level since September 1996.

  • Spending on industrial complexes dropped by 4.3%.

  • Spending on office buildings increased by 0.3%.

  • Spending by the government on public projects rose 0.9% in July, reflecting stronger spending on highways, schools, hospitals, and military facilities.

  • Activity dropped by 0.7% in July for residential construction by private builders due to a drop in spending on new apartments, townhouses, and other multifamily housing units. Spending on new single-family homes rose 0.4% in July.

Source: AP and Commerce Department