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Construction Unemployment Drops But Still Tops 20%

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Construction’s unemployment rate posted its second consecutive monthly decline, even as the industry added 14,000 jobs in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported. BLS’s latest monthly employment report, released on May 5, showed construction’s April jobless rate improved to 21.8% from March’s 24.9%. However, much of the improvement was seasonal as construction activity started to improve with the weather. Discounting the seasonality, construction unemployment in April was still the highest in over a decade. Last month’s rate fell well above last April’s 18.7% rate as well as the 8.7% average rate for April between 2000 and 2008. Construction’s unemployment rate hit a 10-year peak in February, reaching 27.1%. The industry’s rates are not adjusted for seasonal variations; thus, rates tend to improve as work volume rises in the spring and summer but hit bottom in the winter lull. Overall, the economy gained 290,000 jobs in April, but the national jobless rate rose to 9.9% from 9.7% in March as the number of job-seekers—and the total labor force—increased.

Construction Unemployment Rate
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction Unemployment Rate for April.
Construction Unemployment Rate
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