US Construction Employment & Construction Spending: March 2019

Total nonfarm payroll employment in the US increased by 263,000 in April, while the unemployment rate declined to 3.6%. Residential construction employment increased by 600 in April, after the increase of 11,200 jobs in March. The total construction industry (both residential and nonresidential) gained 33,000 jobs in April.

Additionally, the latest monthly employment data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey indicates that employment in the overall construction sector increased by 33,000 in April. The number of residential construction jobs rose by 600 in April, following an 11,200 increase in March. Residential construction employment now stands at 2.9 million in April, broken down as 834,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors. In April, the unemployment rate for construction workers rose to 4.7% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from 3.9% in March. The unemployment rate for the construction sector remains historically low.

Benchmark Dimension Softwood Lumber Construction Framing Prices vs US Median House Sales Price: 2017 – 2019

SOURCE: Madison’s Lumber Reporter

National Association of Home Builders’ analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of US$500.9 billion in March, the lowest level since December 2016. It was the third consecutive monthly decrease after a rebound in December 2018.

The monthly declines are largely attributed to the slowdown of single-family construction and improvement spending. Spending on single-family construction fell 1.5% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of US$263.2 billion, after a decrease of 1.1% in February. This decline mirrors weaker single-family starts in the first quarter of 2019. Home improvement spending slipped 3.1% in March after a modest increase of 0.6% in February. Multifamily construction spending rose 0.7% in March, resuming its steady growth after a dip of 0.1% over the prior month.