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BLS Releases February Employment Figures

The overall employment picture was flat, according to the latest employment figures released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The Bureau reported:

“Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3 percent.  Employment rose in professional and businesses services, health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining.”

The good news for the construction sector is that a year ago, the unemployment rate in our sector was 21.8% and last month it was down to 17.1%.  Year over year, we are seeing improvement, albeit a slow one.  If we were to continue to improve at the current “year over year” rate, we would need another 3 years, or 2015, to get back to a level considered full employment.  That means continuing pressure on an already stressed industry for the next three years.

In our sector, there were 13,000 jobs lost despite the warm winter across the nation.  According to the figures released today there are 5.554 million employed in Construction with 949,000 unemployed in our sector.  That computes to an unemployment rate of 17.1% which is over twice the current rate for the entire country.

If we look into the future at the overall economy with 8.3% unemployment and we want to see that rate at 5%, the rate considered full employment, we would have to improve by 3.3% or 5.9 million jobs net.  Using the current rate of 227,000 net gain per month, then the time needed to get there would be 26 months.  That is 2 years and 2 months putting us at April of 2014.  Our sector lags that recovery by at least 6 months.

This is a crucial year for the industry and for the economy in general.  There are signals of new business on the horizon.  Let’s do what we can to make those jobs become real so that we can recover at a faster rate than we are today.


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