The nation is ‘hurling itself toward a fiscal cliff,’ says ABC chief economist

The U.S. Department of Labor’s latest employment report is out. For some key industry sectors, it’s good news — but not for construction.

This is not news we want to hear, but I certainly think it’s going to fuel the fire when it comes to choosing the nation’s president.

“Though today’s unemployment report was good news for a number of key industry segments, construction was not one of them,” said Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “While the nation has added 1.8 million jobs over the past 12 months, the construction industry has lost 5,000 jobs.”

Construction unemployment rose to 11.9 percent percent in September, a slight increase from 11.3 percent unemployment in August, but the overall rate is down from 13.3 percent from this same time in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Oct, 5 employment report.

The nonresidential building construction sector added 1,100 jobs for the month, but lost 12,400 jobs, or 1.9 percent, during the past year, according to ABC. September employment in the nonresidential sector stood at 654,900. Residential building construction sector employment increased by 1,100 jobs for the month and has added 3,200 jobs, or 0.6 percent, since September 2011, according to ABC.

Nonresidential specialty trade contractors have lost 30,000 jobs, remarkable given that we are in the fourth year of economic recovery,” Basu said in a press release from ABC. “From the perspective of leading indicators, heavy and civil engineering shed 200 jobs last month. While that is hardly a massive total, the implication is that construction starts remain weak and it is unlikely we will see acceleration in nonresidential construction spending any time soon.”

Basu says “as the nation continues to hurtle toward its fiscal cliff, which would result in negative gross domestic product growth, there is reason for concern,” said Basu, adding that “impending tax increases and spending cuts due at the end of the year would further result in a decline in demand for construction services, particularly in nonresidential construction.”

A fiscal cliff. Excellent (can you detect sarcasm here?). I think it’s time for a change. Let’s hope it comes this November.