Construction employment remained flat in June according to the latest Employment Situation Summary released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) this morning. This is a bit disappointing coming off yesterday’s Construction Spending report that showed the annual rate of construction spending had reached a 6+ year high, hitting pre-recession numbers. The two biggest gains in June were in nonresidential building which added 4,500 jobs and heavy and civil engineering construction which saw 3,800 jobs added. Unfortunately these gains were offset by residential building which lost 6,100 jobs and nonresidential specialty trade contractors which dropped 5,600 jobs in June.
With these latest numbers, construction employment has grown by only 105,000 jobs during the first half of the year and by 259,000 jobs during the last 12 months. This averages out to roughly 17,500 jobs added each month so far in 2015. Revised numbers show that only 15,000 jobs were added during May’s initial report of 17,000 new jobs. April numbers were also downgraded from 35,000 jobs gained to 30,000.
Despite the net zero job growth for the construction industry, the unemployment rate continues to drop. It fell to 6.3% in June, the lowest it has been since November 2007 when it was at 6.2%.
The employment numbers from ADP, the Human Capital Management firm, came out yesterday and paint a brighter picture for the construction industry. They show the construction industry added 19,000 jobs in June. May’s jobs numbers were revised up from 27,000 jobs added to 28,000 and April’s numbers were bumped up from 24,000 to 25,000 jobs added for that month. According to ADP, the construction industry has added 147,000 jobs during the first half of 2015 and 307,000 jobs over the past year.
ADP has total construction employment at 6,431,000 compared to 6,380,000 reported by the BLS. The difference between total construction employment numbers for the BLS and ADP is 51,000 jobs.
No one wants to see stagnant job growth, but the fact that unemployment in the industry continues to drop coupled with construction spending continuing to increase, the construction industry should start to see some gains again next month.