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Construction job losses slow

WASHINGTON — After losing around 10,000 jobs a month for the past four months, the nonresidential building construction sector lost 1,400 jobs in May, according to the June 5 employment report by the U.S. Labor Department. Still, 84,800, or 10.2 percent, jobs in the industry have been lost since May 2008 as employment reached 744,700.

Meantime, the pace of job losses in residential building construction continues to mount as employment shrunk by 11,300 for the month and is down 146,400 year-over-year. Total private construction employment, which includes specialty trade contractors, fell by 59,000 jobs in May and is now down 990,000 from May 2008.

“As has been the case with a number of economic data releases in recent weeks, simple interpretation of (this) jobs report is not possible,” said Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) chief economist Anirban Basu. “While the number of jobs lost in May fell far short of the consensus estimate of negative 525,000, the unemployment rate raised above the consensus prediction of 9.2 percent.

“What can be said is that nonresidential construction’s performance continues to rise above expectations.”

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