ARLINGTON, VA - The construction unemployment rate jumped to 27.1% and construction employment dropped to a 14-year low as another 64,000 construction workers lost jobs in February, according to federal employment figures released today.

The economy would have added jobs had it not been for the declines in construction employment for the third time in four months, the Associated General Contractors of America noted.

“While the broader economy may be recovering, the construction industry continues to decline at an alarming rate,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “If these trends don’t change soon, millions of American families will continue to suffer.”

Simonson noted that industry’s job losses in February were consistent with the prior six months and not mainly attributable to exceptionally bad weather. He added that construction unemployment is at the highest level recorded since the federal government began making the data available in 1976. He also noted that nonresidential construction experienced significantly more job losses than the residential sector in February, 53,500 jobs lost versus 10,600.

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