According to the latest report from Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), construction employment increased by 158,000 jobs in June, following an increase of 453,000 in May.
While the increases are good signs overall, the AGC cautioned that June construction employment remained 330,000 jobs below its June 2019 level—a 4.4% decrease.
The overall increase in June, however, does not tell the whole story. It is where the jobs are that is telling:
- The heavy and civil construction segment of the industry lost 9,700 jobs between May and June.
- However, nonresidential building construction employment increased by 13,100 for the month, and employment among nonresidential specialty trade contractors increased by 71,300 during the same time.
- Residential building firms added 19,100 employees in June, and residential specialty trade contractors added 64,100 employees during the same period.
“The gain in construction employment in June was concentrated in homebuilding, with scattered increases in nonresidential building, while heavy and civil engineering construction employment—the category that includes many highway and other infrastructure workers—shrank by almost 10,000 jobs,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist.
“Unfortunately, those infrastructure-related jobs are likely to keep declining as state and local governments postpone or cancel projects in order to cover the huge budget deficits they are facing in the fiscal year that began for many agencies on July 1.”
Simonson added that, according to the AGC’s latest survey of contractors (conducted June 9–17), almost one out of three contractors reported a project that was scheduled to start in June or later had been canceled. However, one-fifth of firms reported winning new or expanded projects—a share that has held steady since April.
AGC noted that it was important for federal officials to enact and implement funding for infrastructure, including highways, bridges, waterways and airports.
“We urge officials of both parties, both sides of Capitol Hill, and the Administration to come together promptly on meaningful increases in infrastructure funding,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s CEO.