PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

PaintSquare


Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Construction Jobs, Spending Hit Highs

Monday, March 17, 2014

Comment | More

It’s shaping up to be a good year for the U.S. construction industry, which is seeing its highest employment rate in nearly five years and its steepest spending increase since 2006, the Associated General Contractors of America says. 

The construction industry added 15,000 jobs in February, raising the industry's employment to its highest level—almost 6 million jobs—since June 2009, AGC reported March 7.

AGC also announced that this January saw the greatest year-over-year increase in total construction spending since 2006, with public construction, private residential and nonresidential spending all contributing to the jump.

Associated General Contractors of America
AGC

All construction segments added workers in the past year, and the industry reached its highest employment total in four and one-half years, according to AGC.

However, the association warned again that the industry may face a shortage in skilled workers to fill these new jobs, and that spending could backpeddle if Congress doesn't deal with rapidly declining federal funding. 

Outpacing the Economy

"The rate of construction hiring has outpaced job growth in the overall economy for the past year," said Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist. "During that time, all construction segments have added workers." 

Construction employment reached 5,941,000 in February, its highest total in 4.5 years. This is an increase of 152,000 (2.6 percent) over last year. 

The residential construction segment took the lead, adding 1,700 workers in February and 101,200 (4.8 percent) over 12 months.

Since January, the nonresidential construction segment added 12,700 employees; 50,600 employees (1.4 percent) were added since February 2013. 

The unemployment rate was 12.8 percent in February 2014 and 15.7 percent in February 2013. Workers who were last employed in construction and were actively looking for jobs saw their unemployment rate drop to its lowest February number since 2008.

The unemployment rate for construction workers is less than half the rate of February 2010, when it was at 27.1 percent, Simonson said. The industry added 438,000 jobs from February 2010 to February 2014, while the number of unemployed workers who last worked in construction declined by 1.34 million, according to the association. 

Looking forward, Simonson says multifamily, manufacturing and oil- and gas-related facilities will generate "particularly strong demand for workers."

Wanted: Skilled Workers

Many firms have been reporting difficulty in finding skilled workers, AGC noted.

"In the past four years, nearly a million experienced workers have left the industry for jobs in other sectors, retirement or school. They are no longer available for immediate recall to construction jobs," Simonson said. 

In a nationwide survey by AGC earlier this year, two-thirds of respondents said they were having a hard time finding qualified workers to fill key positions and expected workforce conditions to remain tough for the next year. 

construction industry employment
AGC

"Unless we find a way to get more students to consider and train for careers in construction, many firms will get to a point where they don't have enough workers to keep pace with demand," AGC said.

The association has urged federal, state and local officials to enact measures that will make it easier to establish training programs at schools, firms and local construction associations. 

"Unless we find a way to get more students to consider and train for careers in construction, many firms will get to a point where they don't have enough workers to keep pace with demand," said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC's CEO. 

Spending Gains

The increase in construction spending from December to January over the prior-year figures trumped "uncommonly adverse weather conditions," Simonson said. 

The monthly gains were from single-home and multifamily construction, but private nonresidential work is expected to bounce back in the next few months, he added. 

January totals for construction put in place reached $943 billion—0.1 percent higher than the December total, which was up $12 billion from the initial estimate. Year-over-year, this January was 9.3 percent higher than January 2013—the fastest rate of growth in total construction spending since May 2006, according to AGC. 

Private residential construction spending increased by 15 percent over the last 12 months, and by 1.1 percent in January. 

Private nonresidential construction spending saw a decrease of 0.2 percent for the month, but jumped by 9.7 percent compared to January 2013. 

The public construction sector slipped 0.8 percent for the month, but increased 2.5 percent from the prior year. 

Construction spending
© iStock / JacobH

Construction put in place saw its fastest year-over-year growth rate in January 2014, with an increase of  9.3 percent over January 2013.

AGC's report was based on an analysis of Census Bureau data on construction spending, but Simonson said the bureau's estimates for January and December may not accurately reflect the impact of winter weather. 

Questionable Funding Future

Preliminary data shows highway and street construction spending jumping 3.7 percent in January and 15 percent year-over-year, but AGC warned that funding shortfalls could lead to a quick decline in federal investments in highway repairs, "undermining the sector's recovery." 

"Public construction is up for now on a year-over-year basis, but funding remains questionable," Simonson said.

In January, the Department of Transportation announced that the federal Highway Trust Fund could go broke as soon as August. 

President Obama has since proposed a $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization budget. 

But Sandherr cautioned: "Even with spending on the rise, the construction industry remains vulnerable to any sudden downturn in demand. Letting highway investments lapse will only hurt overall economic growth and put more construction jobs at risk." 

AGC has urged Congress and the President to work together to pass new transportation funding measures as quickly as possible. 

   

Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); Construction; Department of Transportation (DOT); Economy; Funding; Jobs; Residential Construction; Roads/Highways

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
SABRE Autonomous Solutions
 
Safety
 
Removing blasting operators from harmful environments is our key objective.
 

 
Industrial Vacuum Equipment Corp.
 
Hurricane Vacuums
& Dust Collectors
 
Vacuum and dust collector hose, filters and related accessories.
IndustrialVacuum.com
 

 
SEMicro Division, M.E. Taylor Engineering, Inc.
 
Coatings Adhesion Testers
 
The PATTI® accurately measures the bond strength between coating & substrate. Outfitted properly, the surface can be rough, porous, or curved & >10K psi strong!
 

 
SAFE Systems, Inc.
 
Enduroguard -
The Tough Cable
for a Tough Industry.
 
Reduce maintenance costs and down time, increase job site safety with Enduroguard Cable. Available exclusively from SAFE Systems. UL listed, flexible, abrasion resistant and cut resistant.
 

 
US Minerals
 
Hit Harder. Clean Faster.
 
Black Diamond abrasive products are the toughest, most effective blasting media and supply the superior power you need to get any job done.
 

 
Sherwin-Williams
 
Sherwin-Williams Oil & Gas App
 
Our coatings and linings expertise available 24/7, allowing you to explore the best Sherwin-Williams solutions for oil refineries, shale drilling sites, and offshore. Android users
click here. Download today!
 

 
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
 
Performance Amine 1,3-BAC
 
A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.
 

 
Safway Services
 
Your Access Advantage. QUIKDECK®
 
Provides safe, factory-floor-like working conditions. Can be engineered to fit almost any shape, structure or size. Modular platform easily assembled from just a few basic components. Excellent containment. Applications include vessels, offshore rigs and bridges.
 

 
Aggreko
 
Portable Heating Rentals
 
Rental heaters are available for your painting/coating project. Aggreko offers stand alone or in-line heaters, ready to rent. 24/7 service, nationwide.
844-433-9802
 

 
Novatek Corporation
 
Novatek Corporation, Dustless Coatings Removal
 
Strip, clean and profile all dust free! Comply with new lead standards. Contact today: (866) 563-7800
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us