The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released December’s employment numbers today. Not surprisingly, it reported a decline in construction employment by 16,000 jobs. In November, construction employment rose by 17,000.
Historically, December has always seen low levels of construction employment. In an interview with Forbes, Bankrate.com Washington Bureau Chief Mark Hamrick said that the wave of inclement weather in December likely played a role in the decline. He noted that new home construction is on the rise and that the “dip in average weekly hours worked [by construction pros] are also indications that bad weather played a role.”
Earlier this week, payroll processing company ADP released a private survey that showed record increase of construction employment numbers for December — the highest level of construction employment in December since before the recession in 2006.
ADP’s estimate of 48,000 construction jobs added conflicts with the federal BLS report released today. The report was prepared by Moody’s Analytics based on ADP data. In an article in the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, Moody’s Chief Economist Mark Zandi noted that “People still put up homes in the cold. A lot of construction does not go up in cold-weather areas anyway.”
Despite the conflict in reporting, the industry remains optimistic for an overall upswing for construction and the economy in 2014.