The construction industry lost 126,000 jobs in March, with declines occurring throughout the industry, according to the Labor Department. Employment in construction has fallen by 1.3 million since peaking in January 2007; nearly half of that decline occurred over the last five months.

In March, employment fell in specialty trade contractors (-83,000) and construction of buildings (-33,000). These declines were split about evenly between the residential and nonresidential portions of these industries. Heavy and civil engineering construction also lost 10,000 jobs.

Overall, the number of unemployed persons increased in March by 694,000 to 13.2 million, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.5 percent. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has grown by about 5.3 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.4 percentage points. Half of the increase in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate occurred in the last 4 months.