Employment in electrical distribution runs ahead of contractor numbers

Electrical employment numbers—probably not included in May employment report headline items featured in the news media—paint an interesting picture of construction and distribution in the electrical industry.

Construction overall

The number of production and nonsupervisory employees, or field workers, in the construction industry as a whole rose from April to May by 3.6%, to 4,183,000. That preliminary figure, however, is lower than the May 2011 figure by 8,000. That makes this the lowest May total since 1995.

Electrical contracting

Data for niches such as electrical contracting and electrical distribution lag behind by one month—so what was new on Fri., June 1, was the release of preliminary employment data for April 2012.

Above: Electrical contracting field employment for the past 16 months. April 2012 data is preliminary, subject to revision next month.

Electrical contractors had 545,000 field workers, on average, employed in April. That’s up just 1,600, or less than 3/10ths of 1%, from March. The April figure was almost 1.0% ahead of April 2011’s total.

Electrical distribution

Employment (all employees, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) increased by 700 people in April, to 141,300. That’s up 0.5% from March. Compared to April 2011, the increase was 2%.

As seen in the 16-month graphic below, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website, employment in distribution has disconnected from that in electrical contracting.

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