Construction employment helps to fuel economy

Construction employers added 45,000 jobs in April, helping to fuel U.S. employment growth and push the country’s unemployment to its lowest level since May 2008, according to www.constructiondive.com.

April was the best month for construction employment since January 2014, and unemployment among construction workers fell to its lowest level since 2006. The construction industry added more jobs in April than all other industries except professional/business services and health care. The good news followed a loss of 9,000 jobs for the construction industry in March.

Although various construction sectors experienced gains, nonresidential building lost 7,800 jobs in April. However, job creation in nonresidential building construction increased by 2.4 percent since April 2014, adding 16,600 jobs.

The residential sector added 2,800 jobs in April and 41,200 during the past year. The gain reflects the struggle for homebuilders and commercial contractors in finding qualified workers. Sales of existing homes were up in March, which could signal an increasing number of signed contracts and additional employment in the construction sector as builders hire to meet the projected demand for new homes.

Additionally, construction industry unemployment fell to 7.5 percent in April—a 2 percent improvement from March. The drop in the construction unemployment rate outpaced the national decline. Across all industries, unemployment fell to 5.4 percent in April from 5.5 percent in March, and employers added 223,000 jobs

With the arrival of spring, construction unemployment is expected to fall, signaling that the industry is pulling out of a winter slump caused by bad weather.