Construction lost 15,000 jobs last month, according to analysis by the Associated Builders and Contractors of Labor Department figures.
The decline was the largest since December 2013, the association said.
"Today's jobs report was earth-shattering," Anirban Basu, ABC's chief economist, said Friday. "While the construction industry unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since October 2006, the fact that the unemployment rate has shed 3.5 percentage points in two months while losing 20,000 jobs is indicative of a shrinking labor force. This signals the worsening of the industry-wide skilled labor shortage.”
Such losses will spark features of a recession, Basu added.
"Coming just days after a disappointing nonresidential construction spending report, these job losses will undoubtedly spark talk of recession after a hiatus of roughly three months," Basu said. "Without question, the U.S. economy is associated with significant weakness. However, there are sources of strength based on other data series, including both the auto and housing sectors. Recent retail sales data have become somewhat more upbeat. These positive influences may be enough to keep the U.S. economy out of recession this year.”
The losses come after April’s employment figures were revised from 1,000 new jobs to a 5,000-job decline for the month. This is the first time the construction industry has lost jobs two months in a row since 2012, ABC said.