May 10, 2023 - The construction industry added 15,000 net jobs in April, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Year over year, industry employment expanded by 205,000 jobs, an increase of 2.7%.
Nonresidential construction employment rose by 800 new positions, with growth in only one of the three subcategories.
Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 10,700 positions. Heavy and civil engineering jobs went down 8,100. And nonresidential building lost 1,800 net jobs.
The construction unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% in April. Unemployment across all industries decreased to 3.4%.
“Despite adding just 800 net jobs in April, nonresidential construction payrolls have expanded at a faster pace than the broader economy over the past year,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Job creation continues to exceed expectations, and April saw the unemployment rate return to the lowest level since 1969. Put simply, the demand for workers remains significantly above the supply. This is especially true for contractors, a majority of whom intend to increase their staffing levels over the next six months, according to ABC’s Construction Confidence Index.
Basu added that beyond the labor market, signs of a softening economy are apparent.
“This week, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates again,” he said. “Meanwhile, regional banks remain under pressure. While it is conceivable that the end of the banking crisis is near, credit conditions are likely to tighten further during the months ahead.”
Basu said that that is especially problematic for commercial real estate, which faces a debt maturity wall over the next four years. “Developers and other private purchasers of construction services are likely to suffer difficulty refinancing debt going forward, dampening demand for new construction,” he said.