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Construction Jobs See All-Around Growth

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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U.S. construction jobs are up and unemployment is down, with some of the most promising figures seen since 2008, a new analysis shows.

The U.S. construction unemployment rate dropped to 10.8 percent in May, the lowest May mark in five years, according to a report by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Construction employment rate
Associated General Contractors of America

From May 2012 to May 2013, 189,000 jobs were added to the construction industry, according to AGC.

Between April and May, employers added 7,000 construction jobs, bringing the total to 5,804,000.

Positive Growth

Between May 2012 and May 2013, the U.S. added 189,000 construction jobs, and unemployment in the industry decreased to 10.8 percent from 14.2 percent. The number of unemployed construction workers shrank by 259,000.

Employment expanded in both residential and nonresidential construction, AGC reported. Nonresidential building, specialty trade, and heavy and civil engineering construction firms expanded by 1,700 workers in May 2013 and 95,500 since May 2012.

Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 5,500 employees in May 2013 and 94,400 over the last 12 months.

"Although the monthly job gain in May was modest, both residential and nonresidential construction have been adding workers at roughly double the rate of the overall economy in the past year," said Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist.

Shortages Ahead?

The employment boom may actually create shortage in skilled workers of many trades, experts have been warning.

Formerly unemployed construction workers are finding jobs in other sectors, retiring or going back to school, said Simonson. "These conditions may lead abruptly to worker shortages in parts of the industry, such as welders and pipefitters," he added.

Associated General Contractors

With the construction unemployment rate is decreasing, AGC officials noted a need for skilled workers.

Calling it a "positive indicator for future construction growth," AGC said that architectural and engineering services employers added 2.1 percent to their workforces since May 2012.

Challenges of Recovery

"Just as contractors found ways to cope with the downturn, we need to make sure we are able to address the challenges that will come with the sector's eventual recovery," said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC's CEO.

"One of the biggest challenges this industry faces is limited supply of skilled construction workers available to meet the kind of demand we all hope the industry will soon experience," said Sandherr.

AGC urged education officials to rebuild programs deisnged to help prepare students for careers in construction and manufacturing.

The association also urged Congress to reject caps on construction workers that are currently included in proposed immigration legislation.

Established in 1918, AGC represents nearly 30,000 firms, including general contractors, specialty contractors and service providers and suppliers.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Associated General Contractors; Construction; Contractors; Economy; Jobs; Residential Construction

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