AGC sees US construction unemployment above 20%

By Chris Sleight07 January 2011

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) says unemployment in the US construction industry is running at 20.7%, citing federal employment figures. The association says some 16000 net jobs were lost in the industry in December as stimulus projects and other temporary schemes were wound-down.

AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said, "At this point, it doesn't look like there's anything to replace the temporary help that the stimulus has been providing for the construction industry."

The 16000 December fall in employment equated to a -0.3% drop in construction industry employment said the AGC. Employment in the industry fell to 5.6 million people, compared to a peak of 7.7 million jobs in August 2006. Mr Simonson added that the industry has lost 93000 jobs in the last 12 months.

Heavy and civil engineering construction, the category most likely to be affected by the stimulus and other temporary federal programmes, experienced the largest decline within the construction sector, dropping by 12700 for the month. Before December and November, that segment of the construction industry had been adding jobs for much of 2010.

The AGC says the decline indicates that stimulus and other temporary federal projects have begun winding down, and it added that the situation had been exacerbated by unusually harsh weather in December.

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