The construction industry lost 31,000 net new jobs from January to February, according to data from Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). However, industry employment is up by 223,000 jobs year-over-year.
Unemployment in the construction industry in February registered at 6.2 percent, down 0.2 percentage points from January. On a year-over-year basis, unemployment is down by 1.6 percent. However, the industry’s unemployment level is higher than the nationwide average of 3.8 percent.
“The implication is that one cannot simply ignore today’s jobs report as pure aberration,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While it is likely that future months will be associated with better job growth numbers than today’s 20,000 jobs headline, U.S. economic growth appears to be generally softer in 2019 than it was in 2018. Today’s data also indicate lower construction unemployment and faster economy-wide wage growth, which all things being equal stand to negatively impact construction firm profitability. While recession is not immediately imminent, today’s jobs report should be considered a reminder that economic circumstances can change quickly, which means that contractors are advised to continue to manage cash flow carefully.”