The most recent federal labor statistics and market data indicate that roughly 22,000 jobs were added in the construction industry last month, but there has been a significant reduction in industry wide spending this summer. According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) that uncertainty about federal funding for a range of infrastructure and construction programs is one of the primary suspected reasons for the spending deceleration.
Nationally, construction employment totaled over 6 million as of July 2014, which is the largest numbers the industry has seen since May 2009. Subsequently, the industry’s unemployment rate is the lowest for July in seven years according to industry officials, at a rate of 7.5 percent. Over all, industry growth has increased roughly 3.6 percent from this time last year as residential construction added 115,650 new positions and the nonresidential construction sector increased employment by 9,100 positions in the last twelve months.
While construction industry spending in June totaled roughly $950 billion and spending for the first half of 2014 has greatly increased as a whole from last year, there has been some slowing lately in the trajectory of the private nonresidential sector. Private residential and nonresidential spending fell slightly this June, while public construction spending is not only down 4 percent from this May, but has decreased almost a full percentage this year to date.
AGC officials however suggest that a federal measure passed in late July designed to keep federal highway and bridge funding at current levels through next spring will be a temporary fix to public project spending. However, many industry analysts are still concerned about the overall state of long-term public project funding. As a result, any industry interest groups are urging federal officials to create long-term surface solutions to avoid future funding complications and improve job security for millions of contractors.
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