The construction industry added 27,000 net new jobs in November, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the last seven months, the industry has added 804,000 jobs, recovering 74% of the losses incurred during earlier stages of the pandemic.
Nonresidential construction added 11,900 jobs on net in November. Heavy and civil engineering experienced the largest increase, adding 9,500 positions on net.  Nonresidential building added 3,600 jobs, while the number of nonresidential specialty trade contractors declined by 1,200 positions on net.
The construction unemployment rate rose to 7.3% in November, up 2.9 percentage points compared to the same period a year ago. Unemployment across all industries dropped from 6.9% in October to 6.7% last month.
“The economic momentum that began in May continues to wane,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While it is true that unemployment declined nationally, this result was largely driven by a decline in labor force participation. America’s labor force has 4 million fewer workers than in February. Based simply on momentum, it is quite likely that one or more of the next three jobs reports will indicate a loss of employment.
“Given that context, the performance of nonresidential construction is rather impressive,” said Basu. “The industry faces numerous headwinds, including weaker state and local government budgets, tighter project financing conditions, compromised commercial real estate fundamentals, supply chain disruptions and project postponements and cancellations. Nonetheless, the nonresidential construction segment has remained a bulwark of relative stability throughout the crisis. It is a point that contractors and industry organizations should highlight as they strive to attract more young people into the construction trades.