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ABC: Construction employment inches up in November

Construction employment increased slightly in November, a month when the industry added 5,000 jobs nationally, according to an analysis by trade group Associated Builders and Contractors.

That brought the total number of people employed in the industry to about 7.3 million, a number up 282,000 from November 2017.

At the same time, the industry’s unemployment rate increased slightly in November, going up by 0.3 percentage point from the month before. The rate, though, is still 1.1 percentage points below what it was in November 2017, according to an ABC analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

November’s employment increase follows on the loss of 3,600 jobs in October in the nonresidential side of the industry.

“While it is true that nonresidential construction employment declined last month, the decline was minimal and may simply be attributable to wildfires in California and weather,” said Anirban Basu, ABC chief economist. “Most contractors continue to report healthy backlog and difficulty securing sufficient talent.”

Basu added that the employment increase in November was the result in part of the “plodding” expansion of the U.S. economy.

“Contractors will want to look carefully at leading indicators during the coming months, as the economic forecast is admittedly shrouded in murkiness,” Basu said. “Further market volatility, additional losses in executive confidence and slipping leading indicators could signal that 2020 could usher forth the next economic downturn, which for many construction firms would translate into weaker performance in 2021 and perhaps beyond.”

About Nate Beck, nbeck@dailyreporter.com

Nate Beck is The Daily Reporter's construction staff writer. He can be reached at (414) 225-1814 (office) or 414-388-5635 (mobile).

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