For the first time in months, the U.S. has seen a decline in jobs across the board, prompting analysts to blame the late 2020 resurgence of Covid-19 infection rates.
The new unemployment rate, according to the latest Department of Labor statistics, is now at 6.7%, with a just over 140,000 job lost in the last four months of 2020.
While the rate remains improved over the devastating 15% unemployment rate recorded last spring in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the numbers nevertheless represent a levelling off of what had been a steadily declining jobless rate tracked in the late summer and early fall.
But even with that levelling off, more than 12.3 million jobs have been recovered since the initial employment drop off in March and April.
The construction industry saw an increase of an excess of 51,000 new jobs in December, part of an overall gain of 857,000 job construction jobs since early summer.
Nonresidential construction recorded an increase of 29,000 new jobs, with specialty trade contractors up by 18,300 new jobs, and heavy and civil engineering adding 15,000 jobs.
In a statement, Anirban Basu, chief economist with the Washington-based Associated Builders and Contractors, noted that for much of the pandemic period “nonresidential construction has represented a relative bulwark of stability, buoyed by its frequent status as an essential industry and a large backlog coming into the crisis.”
Basu added that the increase in nonresidential specialty trade work could be seen as an “indication that many building owners are using the absence of office workers and visitors to modernize structures, keeping many construction firms, including smaller contractors, busier than they otherwise would be.”
By Garry Boulard
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