April 18, 2023 | Warren Shoulberg
The construction job picture continues to be unstable, showing a decrease in positions in March versus the month before but still gaining versus 2022 numbers.
The slowdown in the residential housing market continues to have a negative impact on the number of construction jobs but the results so far this year are outpacing the 2022 results.
In numbers just released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for March, the most recent available, residential construction jobs dropped by 7,000 while non-residential positions declined less, by 1,800. Within the non-residential sector, the specialty trade lost 6,100 positions, while the number of nonresidential building jobs decreased by 2,800. Heavy and civil engineering, however, added 7,100 net new jobs. The overall construction unemployment rate declined to 5.6% in March.
However, compared to year-ago results, things looked more encouraging. Versus 2022, the industry grew by 196,000 jobs, giving it a 2.5% increase.
Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu, in commenting on these results, said he still sees a recession “within the next 12 months,” and that “the industry may be positioned for meaningfully weaker conditions in 2024.”
The National Association of Home Builders commented that it saw building peak in 2022 and as the backlog is gradually worked down this year it forecasts a “cooling stage” for the immediate future.
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