Construction Employment Rises by 7,000 in September and 156,000 in 12 Months; Hiring Slowdown Likely Reflects Tight Labor Market, Not Slump in Demand

Industry’s Job Gains and Average Hourly Earnings Outpace Broader Economy as Association Survey Finds Contractors Expect to Keep Hiring; Officials Urge Boost to Career and Technical Education, Immigration

Construction employment increased by 7,000 jobs in September and by 156,000, or 2.1 percent, over the past 12 months, while the number of unemployed jobseekers with construction experience reached a record low for September, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the modest increase in employment likely reflects tight labor conditions and urged federal officials to increase funding for career and technical education and pass immigration reform.

“Contractors foresee plenty of projects to bid on, and nearly three-fourths of firms expect to add workers during the next twelve months, but most are finding it hard to find qualified workers to hire,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, referring to the results of a survey the association released in late August. “That’s not surprising, given that the total unemployment rate hit a 50-year low in September—a sign that workers are hard to come by throughout the economy.”

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