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Construction Employment Rises in October but Spending Drops in Latest 12 Months as Gains in Homebuilding and Public Outlays Offset Private Nonresidential Dip

November 1, 2019

Trade Fights Appear to be Undermining Demand for Many Types of Private-Sector Projects; Association Officials Urge the Trump Administration to Quickly Resolve Disputes with China, the European Union and Other Countries

Construction employment increased by 10,000 jobs in October and by 148,000, or 2.0 percent, over the past 12 months, while construction spending decreased by 2.0 percent from September 2018 to September 2019, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said demand for construction is being undermined by uncertainty and tariffs that are part of a series of trade disputes with China, the European Union and other countries.

“The construction industry is still adding workers at a faster clip than the overall economy but growth has slowed as private nonresidential and multifamily construction spending shrinks,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “At the same time, public investment and a recent pickup in single-family homebuilding have helped employment to grow.”

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