US construction employment increased by 16,000 jobs in August, but the gains were concentrated in housing, while the infrastructure and nonresidential building construction sector lost 11,000 jobs, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data released today. The new jobs data comes as association officials reported that a survey of more than 2000 contractors it released this week found growing pessimism about a return to normal levels of construction business amid a proliferation of project cancellations.
The employment pickup in August was limited to homebuilding, home improvement and a portion of nonresidential construction, the AGC report said. There was a rise of 27,700 jobs in residential construction employment, comprising residential building (3,200) and residential specialty trade contractors (24,500). There was a net decrease of 11,000 jobs in nonresidential construction employment, covering nonresidential building (10,200), specialty trades (-15,700) and heavy and civil engineering construction (-5,500).
The industry’s unemployment rate in August was 7.6 percent, with 762,000 former construction workers idled. These figures were more than double the August 2019 figures of 3.6 percent and 361,000 workers, respectively.