The construction sector added 17,000 jobs in May as overall U.S. employment grew by 280,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
While the overall number of new jobs exceeded economists’ expectations, construction hiring was down substantially from the month before, when the industry added 45,000 jobs and helped fuel nationwide employment growth. In fact, April was the best month for construction employment since January 2014, Labor Department figures showed.
Still, construction unemployment fell to 6.7% in May, the lowest May rate since 2006, according to an analysis of the Labor figures by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Despite a slowdown in job creation, the industry continues to add positions. Just last week, the AGC reported that construction employment grew in 232 metropolitan areas between April and May.
AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson pointed to “the two most likely obstacles” to continued expansion of the industry: labor shortages and “political gridlock” that limits public-sector transportation spending.
Still, the national spike in overall job growth could be good news for home construction. As more young adults find steady jobs, they are more likely to be able to save for down payments and buy their first homes.