BLS Construction Employment: 2nd-Lowest Unemployment Rate Since 2007

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The US construction industry added 17,000 jobs in May according to the June 5 preliminary estimate released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

An Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of the numbers put the national construction unemployment rate at 6.7%,  the second-lowest industry unemployment rate since November 2007.

April’s estimate was revised downward from 45,000 to 35,000 net new jobs. Non-residential construction employment increased by 8,200 jobs in May, with nonresidential specialty trade contractors adding 5,600 jobs and non-residential building employment expanding by 2,600 jobs. Residential construction employment added 8,500 net new jobs for the month.


Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Utah were the five states with the lowest construction unemployment rate, four of which also reported the lowest unemployment rates in April. The construction unemployment rate in Wyoming for April was 1.3%, followed by South Dakota (1.9%), Nebraska (2.3%), North Dakota (3%), and Utah (3.2%).

Estimators purchase more construction materials when there are more projects. I think we’ll see strong construction spending throughout the summer, which might even give a price boost to beleaguered markets such as steel if the economies of scale are big enough.

Construction employment for the month and the past year breaks down as follows:

  • Nonresidential building construction employment is up by 19,500 jobs or 2.8% since May 2014.
  •  Residential building construction employment expanded by 1,800 jobs in May and is up by 44,100 jobs or 6.8% on an annual basis.
  • Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 5,600 jobs for the month and employment in that category is up by 80,600 jobs or 3.7% from the same time one year ago.
  • Residential specialty trade contractors added 6,700 net new jobs in May and have collectively added 104,900 jobs or 6.3% since May 2014.
  • The heavy and civil engineering construction segment added 400 jobs in May, and employment is up by 24,200 positions or 2.6% on a year-over-year basis.


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