Construction Employment Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Levels

Published On
Jun 10, 2022

As the economy continues to recover from COVID-19, employment is on the rise, and like many industries, construction is adding jobs.

According to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), May was a good month for jobs in the construction industry, where a seasonally adjusted 36,000 jobs were added. This is a vast improvement over the previous month, when no new jobs were added in the industry. Construction also added 22,000 jobs in March.

Of note, the number of jobs in the construction industry is significantly higher than it was two years earlier, before the pandemic took a bite out of the economy. Specifically, construction employment was 40,000 higher in May than it was in February 2020. The pandemic slide was still in effect last year. The industry lost 12,000 jobs in May 2021.

In another measure, unemployment in construction was at a relatively low 3.8% in May 2022. That contrasts with 6.7% for the same month last year.

The gains were well distributed, with job growth in all aspects of the construction industry. Residential construction added 16,700 jobs, while nonresidential construction added 19,400.

Of the residential jobs, 5,000 went to those building homes and apartments. Another 11,700 went to residential specialty trade contractors. Of the commercial construction jobs added, general building contractors added 2,400. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors accounted for another 5,700, and 11,300 jobs went to heavy and civil engineering construction firms.

On top of the increase in jobs, earnings also grew. According to the same statistics, average earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in the construction industry rose by 6.3% from May 2021.

The patterns in the construction industry generally mirrored the economy overall. The BLS reports that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 390,000 in May, and the unemployment rate remained at 3.6% for the third month in a row.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at

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