Construction employment increased by 4,000 jobs in July, and by 202,000, or 2.8 percent, over the past 12 months, while the number of jobseekers rose, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
“Job gains in construction have slowed markedly in recent months but the industry is still increasing employment nearly twice as much as other employers,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The recent slowdown in hiring and construction spending may reflect contractors’ difficulty in finding enough qualified workers, rather than a downturn in demand for projects.”
The 2.8 percent growth in construction employment between July 2018 and July 2019 was the slowest in more than six years, but that rate remained close to double the 1.5 percent increase in total nonfarm payroll employment. The unemployment rate for jobseekers who last worked in construction increased from 2.4 percent in July 2018 to 3.8 percent.
Average hourly earnings in construction increased 2.8 percent over the year to $30.75, 9.9 percent higher than the private-sector average of $27.98.
Construction firms continue to boost pay and other benefits as they work to recruit more people into the industry.