Construction Labor Rates Grow 5%

Feb. 9, 2024
Average earnings now at $35.21 per hour.

Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in construction have grown 5.3% in the past 12 months, according to Associated General Contractors of America. The analysis of December 2023 data indicates the construction firms paid a wage “premium” of nearly 19% compared to average hourly earnings for all private-sector production employees, according to the group.

It said the average hourly earnings were $35.21 per hour. The association said the wage growth indicates that demand is high despite “modest” employment gains in January.

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“Although job gains were modest [in January], other evidence suggests there is still lots of demand for workers,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Wages rose faster than in other sectors, job openings at the end of 2023 were at near-record levels for December, and construction spending jumped that month.” 

Construction employment in January totaled 8,137,000, seasonally adjusted, an increase of 11,000 or 0.1% from the upwardly revised December total. The sector has added 216,000 jobs during the past 12 months, a gain of 2.7%.

Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 2,700 employees in January and 60,100 (1.8%) over 12 months. Employment at nonresidential construction firms—nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors along with heavy and civil engineering construction firms—climbed by 7,600 positions for the month and 155,100 (3.3%) since January 2023.

Government reports on job openings and construction spending show demand for construction workers and projects remains robust, Simonson said. Job openings in construction at the end of December totaled 374,000, not seasonally adjusted, exceeding the 227,000 workers hired and implying that contractors want to hire far more workers than they are able to find, he said. In addition, spending on projects under way in December totaled $2.1 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, 0.9% higher than in November and 14% higher than a year earlier.

Source: AGC

About the Author

Rod Sutton

I have served as the editorial lead of Construction Equipment magazine and since 2001. 

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