Construction still shedding jobs

by Wally Northway

Published: September 8,2009

Tags: construction, employment, recession

Employers in the non-residential building construction industry cut 600 jobs in August, according the September 4 employment report by the U.S. Labor Department. On a year-over-year basis, non-residential building construction employment decreased by 102,500 jobs to 727,100.

Heavy and civil engineering construction employment dropped by 8,400 jobs in August and is down 120,800 from one year ago. Non-residential specialty trade contractors continued their pace of job loss as employment declined by 33,900 from July and is now down 407,300 from August 2008.

Meanwhile, residential building construction lost 2,900 jobs last month. On a year-over-year basis, residential building construction employment is off by 129,600 jobs. The overall construction industry shed 65,000 jobs in August and 1,084,000 from the same time last year.

“Saying that the recession is over, and that the economy is good, is saying two very different things,” said Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu. “From a technical perspective, the recession is likely over, or about to end, based on the current performance of national output, industrial production, retail sales and other indices.

“But many components of a modern economy tend to struggle well after recession’s end and the labor market is one of them. As an example, the recession of 2001 ended in November of that year, but unemployment did not peak for that business cycle for another 19 months.”

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