Construction adds 28,000 jobs in January; employment up to 3-year high

Updated Feb 26, 2013
Construction industry employment from January 2003 to January 2013. Credit: U.S. Bureau of Labor StatisticsConstruction industry employment from January 2003 to January 2013. Credit: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The construction industry added 28,000 jobs in the month of January, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Labor Department.

Construction is on a bit of a roll as of late. January marks a 3-year high for employment and the second consecutive month of job gains after 30,000 jobs were added in December. In the last four months, the industry has added 100,000 jobs. One economist recently forecasted the industry to add 140,000 jobs total in 2013.

The number makes up a fairly large chunk of the total 157,000 jobs the country added for the month.

As the Associated Press notes, hiring in the final two months defied expectations set by the uncertainty of the economy as the country neared the Fiscal Cliff.

In all, construction companies employ 5.731 million Americans as of January. In November the number stood at 5.703 million. January 2013′s number is 102,000, 1.8 percent, higher than January 2012.

Specialty trade contractors were again responsible for the majority of January’s gain, adding 26,000 jobs. Heavy and civil engineering was next, adding 4,000 jobs while building construction lost 2,000 jobs.

Construction’s unemployment rate increased to 16.1 percent from December 2012’s mark of 13.5 percent. That mark is still lower than January 2012’s mark of 17.7 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent in January from 7.8 percent in December.