By Lital Shair Nada, market research associate, ARTBA

Highway and bridge contractors added 8,300 workers to their payroll in January 2017 compared to January 2016, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Though this is the highest level of January employment since 2008, jobs in this sector have remained at relatively low levels for the past seven years. January 2017 highway and bridge contractor employment is up 3.3 percent from January 2016, but is still 9.6 percent below 2007 pre-recession levels.

General construction employment follows a similar trend. Employment in this sector also increased year over year. In January and February, construction employment rose 3 percent compared to the same period in 2016. However, construction employment in January and February is still down significantly from 2007 pre-recession levels.

Read ARTBA’s Transportation Construction Industry Employment report for March 2017.

Overall, the U.S. economy added 235,000 workers to their payrolls in February, dropping the unemployment rate to 4.7 percent, from 4.8 percent in January.