Construction unemployment outpaced U.S. total

But building contractor employment rose slightly

March 01, 2003 |

Overall employment in the construction industry was estimated at 6.648 million workers during December 2002 — a decline of 1.3% from the year-end-2001 level. Over the same period of time, total U.S. employment declined by a slight 0.2% — although jobs in the manufacturing sector contracted by a steep 3.5%.

Construction jobs increased, albeit slightly, for the first time in the previous three months during December. Over the previous year, the number of employees working for general building contractor firms actually increased by 1.4%. But special trade contractors employed 1.5% fewer workers at year-end 2002 than at year-end 2001, and employment totals with firms involved primarily in heavy construction work fell by 4.7% over the most-recent 12-month period.

Between September and December of last year, the total number of jobs, seasonally adjusted, with nonbuilding/-heavy contractors fell by 2.1%, while employment with general building contractor firms rose 0.5%. The special trade contractor total was essentially unchanged.

Construction sector job totals have fallen during the past year

Percent change in employment, December 2001-December 2002

Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Total U.S. Employment -0.2%
Overall Construction -1.3
General Building Contractors +1.4
Special Trade Contractors -1.6
Heavy (nonbuilding) -4.7
Manufacturing 3.5
Services +1.4

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