Construction Jobless Rate Dips Again in July; Industry Adds 22,000 Jobs

Construction?s positive employment continued in July as the industry?s jobless rate declined to 7.5 percent from June?s 8.2 percent and the industry gained 22,000 jobs, the Labor Dept. has reported.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics??(BLS) latest monthly employment report, released on Aug. 1, also noted that construction?s rate was well below the July 2013 mark of 9.1 percent.

Nearly all construction sectors picked up jobs last month, according to the BLS. Specialty trade contractors led the way, with a gain of 13,900. Residential buildings added 6,100 jobs, and heavy-civil engineering construction picked up 2,500. The only segment to post a loss was non-residential building, which shed 400 jobs in July. Architectural and engineering services, a separate BLS industry category, gained 8,800 jobs.

Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America chief economist, said in a statement, ?While prospects for private construction remain largely favorable, inadequate public investment still threatens to keep too many workers idle.?

Simonson noted that residential construction sectors added a total of 13,000 jobs last month, but non-residential picked up 9,100. He said smaller non-residential gains are due to a decrease in public-sector construction spending.

Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist, noted that construction?s July jobless rate was the lowest since November 2007. Basu added, ?The rate of unemployment is even lower in certain rapidly expanding states, including North Dakota, Texas and Louisiana, which are wrestling with too few construction workers, not too many.?

BLS unemployment rates for construction and other industries aren?t adjusted for seasonal differences. BLS also said the national unemployment rate edged up to 6.2 percent in July from June?s 6.1 percent, though the economy added 209,000 jobs.

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