US construction unemployment climbs again

By Chris Sleight11 January 2010

According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 53000 construction workers lost their jobs in December. The association says the unemployment rate in the industry is now 22.7%, with more than 2 million out of work, 934000 of which lost their jobs in 2009.

The unemployment rate in the construction industry is now twice the all-industry figure, according to the AGC, which cited federal employment figures. AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said, "If it wasn't for construction, our economic picture would actually be getting slightly better. Unfortunately, construction layoffs are dragging down the broader employment picture."

He added that falling demand for nonresidential construction in particular was driving the sector's job losses, with 34900 nonresidential jobs lost in December. He noted that federal figures released earlier this week indicate that construction spending declined by US$137 billion between November 2008 and 2009 to a six-year low.

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