The construction industry added 8,000 jobs in September for its highest level since 2008, but could have hired even more if qualified workers were available, said the Associated General Contractors of America.
Construction unemployment was 4.7 percent in September, its lowest September rate since 2000, said AGC. Average hourly earnings have increased 3 percent from last year to $29.19, nearly 10 percent more than the average nonfarm private sector job in the U.S.
The Associated General Contractors of America urged Congress and the Trump administration to include new spending as part of the tax reform proposal to reverse declining infrastructure investment. New investments will offset declining public sector demand and help boost overall economic activity, said AGC.
"It is hard for American employers to be globally competitive when their workers are stuck in traffic and their products are being detoured around crumbling bridges," said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr.
Most major construction spending categories increased from July to August, but activity was mixed compared to spending levels a year earlier, according to an analysis of new government data by the AGC. Association officials noted that big drops in public investments mean infrastructure will continue to deteriorate and impede economic growth.
Construction employment increased in 274 out of 358 metro areas between August 2016 and August 2017, declined in 52 and stagnated in 32, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the construction job gains come even as 70 percent of responding firms reported having a hard time finding qualified craft workers to hire.
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index gained 5.9 percent in July following a 5.8 percent gain in June. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.8 percent year-over-year gain in the latest report, up from 5.6 percent the previous month.
A modest inventory is allowing sellers to boost prices as competition for available homes intensifies. Prices accelerated the most in Seattle, Portland and Las Vegas, with year-over-year gains of 13.5 percent, 7.6 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.
What happens to all those autos ruined by the double whammy of hurricanes in the South? Cox Automotive estimates 300,000 to 500,000 cars were damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Auto-market researcher Black Book puts the total in Texas closer to one million. And millions more could be added to the toll after Hurricane Irma is tallied.
"We reviewed damage numbers in both (Hurricane) Katrina and (Superstorm) Sandy, which were the most comparable storms. We looked at the reporting of wide-spread flooding, which more resembled Katrina than Sandy. We took into account the high vehicle density and the dependency on vehicles in Houston," said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive, in a media conference call.
The "woodie" automobile, popular in the 1940s and '50s, may be on its way back, but in a seriously different mode.
Japanese researchers are developing the latest challenge to automotive steel, a super-strength, lightweight product that uses wood as a raw material. Cellulose nanofiber, made from wood pulp, is mixed into plastics forming a product that is one-fifth the weight of steel and five times as strong, according to researchers at Kyoto University.
Construction employment increased by 6,000 jobs in July to the highest level since October 2008, amid a tight labor market that may be keeping contractors from hiring as many workers as they need, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials urged local, state and federal leaders to enact measures designed to expose more high school students to high-paying careers in construction to offset growing labor shortages.
Construction employment made the biggest gains in metro areas in June with particular strength in the western U.S., according to an analysis of data by the Associated General Contractors of America. The largest losses were in the middle or eastern parts of the country, noted AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson.
Construction spending is suffering from a decrease in public investment said Ken Simonson, chief economist at the Associated General Contractors of America.
"Construction spending is still increasing overall but growth has become much more uneven across categories in recent months," said Simonson. "There has been a steep decline in public investment in nearly all types of construction over the past year. Private nonresidential construction is still rising overall but generally at slower rates than was occurring a few months ago."
A shortage of qualified job seekers resulted in only 25 states adding construction jobs between May and June despite strong industry demand, says the Associated General Contractors of America. Forty-one states added construction jobs between June 2016 and June 2017.
"Contractors in most of the country say they have plenty of projects booked and would like to hire more workers if they could find them, so it is likely that some states with monthly employment declines have a shortage of workers available to hire rather than a slowdown in work," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. "Given the low unemployment rate in most states, other industries are competing hard for workers, making it difficult for contractors to find new construction workers, let alone experienced ones."