ARLINGTON, VA -- The construction industry added 19,000 jobs in August, yet the sector’s 17% unemployment rate was the highest August rate ever, according to a new analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of federal employment data.

"Construction layoffs in May through July offset modest job gains in March, April and August, leaving the industry with a tragically high unemployment rate last month,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the construction association. He pointed out that the industry’s 17.0% rate was higher even than the 16.5% rate a year earlier and far above the unadjusted national rate of 9.5%.

Simonson said that over the past year, 274,000 construction workers (4.7% of the August 2009 total) have lost jobs, spread among all five categories tabulated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: nonresidential specialty trade contractors (123,700 or 5.8%), residential specialty trade contractors (63,200 or 4.0%), residential building (45,700 or 7.4%), nonresidential building (31,900 or 4.5%) and heavy and civil engineering construction (10,000 or 1.2%).

Read the Associated General Contractors of America's press release.

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