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News » US » Construction employment rises » published 4 Jun 2018

Construction employment rises

Construction employers added 25,000 jobs in May and 286,000 for the year, with spending in the sector increasing by 7.6% between the Aprils of 2017 and 2018.

Construction spending reached US$1.310 trillion in April, according to the analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials said that the measures to reform taxes, reduce regulatory burdens and increase infrastructure funding are helping construction employers and workers as demand and pay continue to expand.

“Construction workers and their employers are clearly benefitting from steps Congress and the administration are taking to boost economic demand,” said Stephen E Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.  “Construction pay, employment and demand have all increased as business conditions have improved.”

Construction employment totaled 7,210,000 in May - a gain of 25,000 for the month and 286,000, or 4.1%, over 12 months. Association officials pointed out that the year-over-year growth rate in industry jobs was significantly higher than the 1.6% rise in total non-farm payroll employment. Construction employment is now higher than at any point since June 2008.

Hourly earnings in the industry averaged US$29.65 in May, an increase of 3.2% from a year earlier. That put the average hourly earnings in construction 10.1% higher than the average for all non-farm private-sector jobs, which rose 2.7% in the past year, to US$26.92, Sandherr added.

Construction unemployment hit one of the lowest levels on record. Association officials noted that the unemployment rate in construction decreased from 5.3% a year ago to 4.4% last month, the lowest rate of unemployment since July 2000. The number of unemployed job seekers with recent construction experience has fallen 87,000 since May 2017.

Residential construction – comprising residential building and specialty trade contractors – grew by 10,300 jobs in May and added 132,300 jobs over the past 12 months, a 4.9% increase. Non-residential construction – including building, specialty trades and heavy & civil engineering construction – employment grew by 15,400 jobs in May and increased by 153,900 during the past year, 3.6% increase.

Construction spending in April increased 1.8% to US$1.310 trillion from March. The April total exceeded the level a year earlier by 7.6%. For the month, private non-residential construction spending rose 0.8%, private residential spending increased 4.5% and public construction spending shrank 1.3%. On a year-over-year basis, private residential construction spending grew 9.5%, while the figures for private non-residential spending and public construction were 5.3% and 7.7%, respectively.

Association officials noted that construction employers have added 337,000 new jobs since January of 2017, thanks in part to improving business conditions and growing demand. “It is no coincidence that pay, employment and demand are on the increase while taxes, regulations and infrastructure neglect are on the decrease.” Sandherr said.


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This article was published on 4 Jun 2018 (last updated on 4 Jun 2018).

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