August Unemployment Rates Lower in 311 of 372 Metropolitan Areas

The industry’s unemployment rate dropped sharply over the past year, from 11.9 percent in September 2012 to 8.5 percent in September 2013—the lowest September rate since 2007. According to AGC, the steep decline in the number of unemployed former construction workers suggests companies may have trouble finding experienced workers if the volume of projects continues to expand, as it did in August.

“Today’s spending report showed increases in August in residential, private nonresidential and public construction,” Simonson says. “But on a year-over-year basis, public construction has continued its long decline, private nonresidential spending is mixed, and only home- and apartment construction is booming.”

Total construction spending, as reported by the Census Bureau, climbed 0.6 percent in August from an upwardly revised July figure and 7.1 percent from August 2012. Private residential spending led the way with a 1.2 percent increase for the month and a 19 percent jump year-over-year. Private nonresidential spending eked out a 0.1 percent gain in August and a 4.3 percent rise over 12 months. Public spending rose 0.4 percent for the month but shrank 1.8 percent from a year earlier.

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