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Construction adds 28,000 net jobs in December after ‘flat’ job openings in November: ABC

By: Ethan Duran//January 9, 2023//

Construction adds 28,000 net jobs in December after ‘flat’ job openings in November: ABC

By: Ethan Duran//January 9, 2023//

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The Milwaukee skyline is seen on Sept. 6. Across the U.S. the construction industry added almost 30,000 jobs in December. (AP File Photo/Morry Gash)

The construction industry added nearly 30,000 jobs on net before the end of 2022, a contractors association found in its latest analysis.

There were a total of 28,000 construction jobs added in December across the U.S., an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed. Industry employment grew by 231,000 year-over-year, or 3.1%, the association added.

“This employment report indicates that contractors collectively remain in expansion mode despite rising costs of capital and fears of recession,” ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in a statement. “Consistent with upbeat assessments of construction activity late last year, nonresidential contractors continue to ramp up staffing in the context of elevated backlog. In ABC’s Construction Confidence Index, contractors indicated that both sales and employment would continue to rise over the next six months.”

Specialty trade contractors outside of residential construction added 10,200 net new jobs and nonresidential building, heavy and civil engineering gathered 5,800 and 1,900 jobs, respectively, the association said. Nonresidential construction employment grew in all three ABC subcategories and added a total of 17,900 positions on net.

However, the construction unemployment rose by 4.4% last month, and unemployment declined 3.6% across all industries in November to 3.5% last month.

The overall U.S. economy yielded “good news,” as job creation persisted in a strong labor market and wage pressures eased, Basu said.

“Nonetheless, the Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates to instore inflation to its 2% target, with the implication that a recession remains a real possibility in 2023,” the economist added. “Based on historical precedent, that could produce more challenging times for contractors in 2024 and/or 2025.”

In November, ABC analysts found 388,000 job openings from BLS’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Construction job openings fell by 2,000 the previous month but were up 22,000 year-over-year.

Basu said “good news is bad news” as economywide job openings kept around 10.5 million in November, like October’s estimate. “That’s the key takeaway in a still-red-hot labor market, as many employers continue to aim for expanded capacity to satisfy unmet demand. That is the good news,” he said.


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