The construction industry had another solid month of job gains, adding 45,000 in December. November’s total was revised up from 46,000 to 48,000 jobs added and October was revised up again to 35,000 jobs added. In the 4th Quarter of 2015 the construction industry added 128,000 jobs. That means in the industry added nearly half of the 263,000 jobs added for the year in just the last three months of the year. The number of jobs added in construction in 2015 is down 22% from the 338,000 jobs added in 2014.
The unemployment rate for the construction industry increased to 7.5% in December despite the large gains over the past couple of months. It had held steady at 6.2% for the previous two months. All areas of construction had positive job gains in December. Construction of buildings added 10,000 which was evenly split between residential and nonresidential. Specialty trade contractors added over 29,000 jobs and heavy and civil engineering construction added 4,800 jobs.
ADP, the Human Capital Management firm, released their jobs report on Wednesday and had the construction industry adding more than 24,000 in December. November’s totals were revised down from 16,000 jobs added to 4,000 and October was revised down from 32,000 to 15,000 jobs added. According to ADP, the construction industry added 255,000 in 2015. In 2014, they estimated the construction industry added 299,000 jobs.
The BLS has total construction employment at 6,538,000 which is pretty much in line with the ADP total of 6,539,000 jobs. This is interesting since most months, their totals for added jobs are pretty far apart from each other.
Job growth was flat for most of the middle of the year in construction so it was nice to see some positive growth to finish out the year. Despite the increase in the unemployment rate, a high percentage of construction firms are reporting trouble finding workers which will probably continue in 2016. Firms are going to have to find a way to add more workers since construction is expected to grow again this year which will mean an even higher demand for skilled workers.