Construction Employment Declines in June as Firms Continue to Face Material, Labor Shortages
Construction employment declined by 7,000 between May and June as the industry still employs 238,000 fewer people than before the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of government data. Association officials say that job losses in the nonresidential construction sector offset modest monthly gains in residential construction as many firms struggle with worker shortages, supply chain disruptions and rising materials prices.
“It is hard for the industry to expand when it can’t find qualified workers, key building materials are scarce, and the prices for them keep climbing,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “June’s job declines seem less about a lack of demand for projects and a lot more about a lack of supplies to use and workers to employ.”
Construction employment in June totaled 7,410,000, dropping 7,000 from the revised May total. The total in June remained 238,000 or 3.1 percent below February 2020, the high point before the pandemic drove construction employment down. The number of former construction workers who were unemployed in June, 730,000, dropped a quarter from a year ago and the sector’s unemployment rate fell from 10.1 percent in June 2020 to 7.5 percent this June.