Nonresidential construction suffered significant job losses in April as employment declined by 28,300 jobs, according to the May 2 release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the 12-month period, from April 2007 to April 2008, nonresidential construction employment was down 79,100 jobs, making it the largest year-over-year decline since the period between June 2002 and June 2003.
However, job declines within nonresidential construction were mixed. Industrial building construction employment fell by 1,000 jobs on a monthly basis while commercial building employment increased by 5,900 jobs. Nonresidential specialty trade contractor employment declined by 7,700 jobs in April compared to the previous month.
Total construction employment was down by 61,000 jobs on a monthly basis and down by 385,000 jobs compared to April 2007. The majority of total construction employment declines were in the residential sector, which reported a loss of 33,100 jobs in April compared to March and 305,700 jobs lost between April 2007 and April 2008.
Total employment was down by 20,000 jobs in April. Though still negative, employment growth was better than many had anticipated. The consensus was that the U.S. would lose roughly 75,000 jobs in April and that unemployment would rise to 5.2 percent from 5.1 percent in March. However, unemployment actually dipped in April to 5.0 percent.