The latest jobs report was released this morning from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing that the construction industry added only 3,000 jobs in August. Job growth has slowed in the construction industry over the past few months. In June, July and August only 11,000 jobs were added. Compare this to the 42,000 added in April and May and the numbers over the last three months look dismal.
Construction employment has grown by only 113,000 jobs so far this year including March where 12,000 jobs were lost. In April those numbers bounced back up, but since the numbers have been low. Last year the construction industry had added more than twice as many jobs (232,000) by August. Over the past 12 months the industry has added 219,000 jobs. June’s numbers were revised to reflect an addition of 1,000 jobs instead on no jobs added and July’s figures were revised up to 7,000 jobs added instead of the preliminary 6,000 reported last month.
The unemployment rate for the construction industry increased from 5.5% in July to 6.1% in August. All areas of construction saw some job growth with the exception of nonresidential building construction which lost 1,600 jobs in August. It’s unclear why the industry continues to add such a small number of jobs each month as construction spending has continued to increase each month. It could be that the skills shortage predicted by many is finally starting to affect employment numbers.
ADP, the Human Capital Management firm, which released their numbers earlier this week show the construction industry added 17,000 jobs in August. This is a big difference compared to the 3,000 reported by the BLS. According to ADP, the construction industry has added 176,000 jobs so far this year and 291,000 jobs over the last 12 months.
ADP has total construction employment at 6,460,000 compared to 6,388,000 reported by the BLS. The gap between total construction employment numbers for the BLS and ADP continues to widen and is currently at a difference of 72,000 jobs.
It’s probably not a good idea to hit the panic button just yet, but the construction industry is going to have to find a way to attract and hire more employees as the demand for construction continues to increase.