Employment in the U.S. construction industry was down 3,000 jobs in December, one month after it had hit a 10-year high.
Meanwhile, average hourly earnings continued to rise in the industry, according to a news release issued Friday by the Associated General Contractors of America. The AGC said that surveys it has conducted of its own members suggest demand for construction services remains strong.
Those findings, combined with the rising pay, make it unlikely that the decline in employment is a sign that the industry is slowing down.
“This report presents mixed signals about the state of the construction industry,” said Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist.
Employment in the U.S. construction industry stood at nearly 6.7 million in December, according to figures that were seasonally adjusted to compensate for the decreases that occur almost every winter. The December count may have been by 3,000 from the comparable number from November but was still up by 102,000 from December 2015.
Of the industry’s various sectors, the worst numbers were seen in nonresidential construction. That part of the industry lost 13,400 jobs from November to December.
Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday, though, suggested that spending in the industry was up by 0.9 percent in December. Nonresidential spending was up 4.9 percent between November and December and residential spending was up 1 percent in the same period.