Construction employment increased by 14,000 jobs in August and by 177,000, or 2.4 percent, over the last 12 months. The number of unemployed jobseekers with construction experience also remained near historic lows according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
“Construction employment gains would likely have been higher if firms could find even more people to hire,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Our survey found that 91 percent of respondents said their firms expect to hire in the next 12 months, but overwhelmingly, they are finding most craft positions hard to fill.”
The 2.4 percent growth in construction employment between August 2018 and 2019 was the slowest in more than six years.
Average hourly earnings in construction increased 2.7 percent over the year to $30.84. Two-thirds of firms responding to the association’s survey had raised base pay rates for hourly craft workers because of difficulty finding positions, while 58 percent of firms had done so for salaried workers.
Officials said the industry was taking a broad range of steps to cope with labor shortages including boosting pay, expanding training programs, and becoming more efficient.