Unemployment for construction workers hit 9.4% in December, with about 968,000 out of work in the industry, according to the most recent figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The construction unemployment rate had been 6.9% in December, 2006.
For the overall economy, unemployment jumped to 5.0%, with some 7.7 million out of work. Just 18,000 new jobs were added during the month, the smallest total in two years, and well below most experts' consensus.
Average hourly earnings nationally in December were $17.71, up 0.4% from November, and up 3.7% from December, 2006. December's average weekly earnings were up 0.4% from the previous month to $598.60, a 3.4% increase from the same month in the previous year.