Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 33 states and the District of Columbia in December.
Courtesy Adobe Stock/arhon

Construction employment rebounded after its significant losses in April by adding 464,000 jobs in May. Despite the spike in employment during May, total industry employment remained 596,000 below February's numbers, the most recent peak in government data. The industry's unemployment rate of 12.7% was the highest May rate for construction since 2012, according to an analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

The gain of 464,000 industry jobs in May follows losses of 995,000 jobs in April and 65,000 jobs in March, marking a cumulative loss of 596,000 over the three-month period. The total industry employment in May was roughly equivalent to construction employment levels in late 2017, according to AGC chief economist Ken Simonson.

"The huge pickup in construction employment in May is good news and probably reflects the industry's widespread receipt of Paycheck Protection Program loans and the loosening of restrictions on business activity in some states," Simonson said in a news release. "Nevertheless, the industry remains far short of full employment, and more layoffs may be imminent."

The AGC's most recent survey of the construction industry, conducted between May 18 and May 21, found that nearly a quarter of contractors reported that a project scheduled to start in June or later had been canceled.