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Commercial construction up 12 percent over 2010; employment stalled, AGC says

Post Time:Dec 05,2011Classify:Industry NewsView:56

Construction spending increased for the third straight month in October as private activity grew while public spending shrank, the Associated General Contractors of America reported Dec. 1. The second-largest private nonresidential segment — commercial construction (retail, warehouse and farm) — was up 0.4 percent for the month and 12 percent from a year earlier.

Association officials cautioned that further declines in public sector activity may soon swamp gains in homebuilding and private nonresidential investment, however. “The apparent stability in construction spending data is masking conflicting trends,” said the association’s chief economist, Ken Simonson, in a release. “On one hand, private investments in construction are slowly accelerating, while public sector investments are declining at an even faster rate.”

Simonson noted that total construction spending ticked up by 0.8 percent from September to October and inched down just 0.4 percent over the past year.

In related news, the group reported that construction employment declined by 12,000 in November, as the industry's unemployment rate hit 13.1 percent. “Industry employment has remained virtually unchanged since early 2010 despite a pickup in some private construction,” said Simonson.

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