Construction employment falls for August

According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction employment fell for August in 34 states.

Construction employment fell in 34 states, rose in 13 states and remained level in three states. Over the year, the largest losses were in Arizona, -28 percent; Nevada, -25 percent; Connecticut, -22 percent; and Kentucky, -21%.

According to an analysis by Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) chief economist, construction workers accounted for almost one-third of jobs lost nationwide over the month with a decline of 65,000. Simonson says that construction losses accounted for 30 percent of total nonfarm job losses, while representing only 5 percent of the workforce.

The construction unemployment rate for August fell to 16.5 percent, down from 18.2 percent in July 2009 and up from 8.2 percent in August 2008. The number of unemployed persons for the month totaled 1,542,000, down from more than 1,600,000 in July 2009. The national unemployment rate for August was 9.6 percent. Simonson said that nonresidential construction experienced the hardest hit for August with almost 43,000 job losses.