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Construction added 19,000 jobs last month, but industry's 17 percent unemployment rate highest ever for August

Post Time:Sep 03,2010Classify:Industry NewsView:105

The construction industry added 19,000 jobs in August as a strike that had lowered employment in July ended, but the sector’s 17 percent unemployment rate was the highest August rate ever, according to a new analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of federal employment data released today [Sept. 3]. Continuing gridlock in Washington over infrastructure legislation and expiring tax rates threatens to keep construction workers unemployed much longer, association officials warned.

"Construction layoffs in May through July offset modest job gains in March, April and August, leaving the industry with a tragically high unemployment rate last month,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction association. He pointed out that the industry’s 17.0 percent rate was higher even than the 16.5 percent rate a year earlier and far above the unadjusted national rate of 9.5 percent. He noted that industry unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and, thus, can be meaningfully compared to the same month in earlier years but not across months, according to a Sept. 3 AGC of America report.

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