Unemployment in the construction sector climbed to a “horrendous” 19.2 percent (not-seasonally adjusted) as an additional 59,000 construction workers lost their jobs in May according to new federal data, said construction economistKen Simonson. He discussed the significance of the new jobs data during an Associated General Contractors of America media conference call with contractors from across the country.

He reported that construction employment has declined by 990,000 jobs, or 14 percent, in the past year while overall nonfarm employment has declined by 4 percent. “Construction continues to bear a disproportionate share of the pain from the recession,” Simonson said. “Simply put, the unemployment rate for construction in May was horrendous.”

Construction employment figures would likely have been worse if not for the stimulus, he admitted, and sited examples of companies adding to payroll because of stimuls-funded projects/contracts.

“The stimulus is doing its job putting men and women back to work,” said Simonson.  “It is boosting opportunity and generating economic activity in an increasingly broad geographic area.”

To read Simonson's full remarks,click here.

Source: AGC