Construction employers add 17K jobs in October

November 02, 2012 11:00AM

Construction employers added 17,000 jobs in October, as the industry’s unemployment rate fell to 11.4 percent, according to a release issued today by the Associated General Contractors of America. This news comes on the heels of the U.S. Department of Labor’s announcement today that 171,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy October; the unemployment rate, nationally, stands at 7.9 percent, according to the Labor Department.

All in all, firms employed 5.54 million people this month, a 0.3 percent month-over-month increase from the 5.52 million added in September. But the overall figures are down by more than 2 million — compared to 2006, when the construction sector reached a zenith of 7.7 million employees.

However, the association notes that the construction employment figures alone have hardly changed in the past year. “Despite five consecutive months of construction employment gains, the overall employment picture is essentially unchanged from a year ago,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist said, in a prepared statement. “Construction employment appears stuck in a state of mild monthly flux with little change to the overall number of jobs.”

As The Real Deal previously reported, construction employers last month added 5,000 jobs, but there was a simultaneous increase in the industry’s unemployment rate to 11.9 percent. And as reported this week, the construction industry saw declines in employment in 160 of 337 cities surveyed.

Residential construction posted a 4,700 job gain in October. Nonresidential added more, 12,200 jobs, in October.

The numbers do not reflect the impact of storm damage from early this week. The association notes that the reconstruction and repair efforts will likely have little effect on the employment numbers in November and throughout the winter months. – Zachary Kussin