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Employment in Construction Falls in March

The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the labor market may be cooling. Total nonfarm employment rose by 236,000 (seasonally adjusted) in March, the smallest monthly gain since a decline of 268,000 in December 2020. The construction industry lost 9,000 jobs in March after posting successive monthly gains since February 2022, as employment in both nonresidential and residential construction declined by 1,800 and 7,000 jobs, respectively. However, on a year-over-year basis, construction employment grew by 2.5 percent or an increase of 196,000 jobs.

The nation’s unemployment rate edged down to 3.5 percent in March, from 3.6 percent a month earlier, thanks to an uptick in the labor force participation rate. The construction unemployment rate also declined in March but remained elevated at 5.6 percent, highlighting continued labor shortages and the impact of the banking sector turmoil.

At this point, it’s too early to say if the drop in construction employment is due to the issues facing the broader economy, according to Dodge Construction Network. However, with the planning queue slowing, Dodge Construction Network starts will feel the strain as the year progresses, likely leading to weakness in construction employment.

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