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Employment up in nonresidential construction

Post Time:Nov 12,2013Classify:Industry NewsView:53

Despite a housing slump, employment of architects and engineers jumped 3.5 percent since January 2007, said Ken Simonson, chief economist for The Associated General Contractors of America, in a release dated Feb. 1. The gain implies “that nonresidential activity will remain positive," he said in the release. "Total construction employment fell by 27,000 in January, seasonally adjusted, but all of those losses occurred in residential building and specialty trades," Simonson said. "Employment in the three nonresidential categories--nonresidential building, specialty trades, plus heavy and civil engineering--edged up 1,300.” Simonson was commenting on two new economic releases: January payroll employment from the Bureau of Labor Statisticsand December construction spending from the Census Bureau. "The reality is a good deal better for nonresidential construction employment than BLS indicates," Simonson said. "Census figures for December show nonresidential construction spending jumped almost 16 percent from a year earlier, which could only have occurred with a sharp rise in employment.” The Census numbers show growth, mostly at double-digit rates, in 15 of 16 nonresidential categories, “everything except religious structures, which are closely linked to new housing," Simonson said. "For 2008, I expect continued expansion in power, energy, communication, hospital and higher education construction, and a modest increase in the nonresidential total, before taking cost escalation into account. Unfortunately, materials costs are accelerating again, particularly diesel fuel and steel.” If Congress is intent on passing a "stimulus" bill, it should include infrastructure money to keep construction workers on the job and offset some of states' lost purchasing power, Simonson said. Share this article:

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