Steel Products

Construction Employment at a 10-Year High

Written by Sandy Williams

Construction employment is at a 10-year high and industry unemployment is at an all-time low, according to a new analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. The industry added 23,000 jobs in August and 297,000 jobs over the past year.

Construction employment in August totaled 7,259,000, the highest level since May 2008 and a gain of 4.3 percent over the past 12 months. AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson noted that the year-over-year growth rate in industry jobs was more than double the 1.6 percent rise in total nonfarm payroll employment. The unemployment rate for workers with construction experience was 3.4 percent, matching the all-time low set in July.

Employment in residential construction—comprising residential building and specialty trade contractors—grew by 12,900 jobs in August and added 136,600 jobs over the past 12 months, a 5.1 percent increase. Employment in nonresidential construction—including building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction—grew by 9,600 jobs in August and increased by 160,500 during the past year, a 3.8 percent increase.

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“The construction industry continues to add workers and increase pay at greater rates than the economy as a whole, with job gains spread across both residential and nonresidential construction,” said Simonson. “But contractors report widespread difficulty in finding qualified workers for both salaried and hourly craft positions.”

Hourly wages increased 3.3 percent year-over-year to an average rate of $29.95 in August. Wages are now 10.3 percent higher than nonfarm private-sector jobs at $27.16 per hour.

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