The bulk of the new jobs came from the non-residential side, with 35,800 net new positions over the previous month. Construction industry unemployment rose to 5.1 percent from November, but was 0.8 percent lower than at the same time one year ago.
“While overall U.S. economic growth is likely to slow in 2019, the economy appears poised to generate enough growth to keep the average contractor busy and to keep backlog relatively stable,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “Importantly, job growth was apparent in both publicly and privately financed nonresidential categories. Construction spending has been strong in categories ranging from office and lodging to transportation and public safety, and today’s data suggest that firms operating in these and other segments will continue to bulk up on staffing. In the final analysis, today’s employment numbers were impressive and should suppress most discussion regarding the imminence of a broad economic downturn.”