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Construction Jobs Notch 6-Year High

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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A new analysis shows a strengthening U.S. construction sector and some of the most promising figures seen in years, but many of the nation’s firms are still reporting hiring shortages.

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

Between August and September employers added 16,000 jobs, bringing the total to 6,079,000, the highest rate seen since May 2009.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

As the construction industry continues to recover, AGC notes the need for skilled workers.

The number of unemployed workers was 604,000, a level not seen since August 2007.

Growth Seen

Between September 2013 and September 2014, the U.S. added 230,000 construction jobs. Residential and specialty trade contractors added a combined 11,800 employees since August and 129,400 (5.9 percent) over 12 months.

Nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors hired a net of 3,700 workers for the month and 100,300 (2.7 percent) since September 2013.

However, heavy and civil engineering contractors, which perform the majority of public-sector construction, increased their headcount by just 500 in September and 29,000 (3.3 percent) over the year amid tight government budget conditions, according to the association.

Worker Shortages

Association officials said the construction employment gains come as more firms report having difficulty finding enough qualified workers to fill available positions, citing the lack of local vocational training programs, especially at the secondary level.

construction site
© iStock / sedar_yorulmaz

Between September 2013 and September 2014, the U.S. added 230,000 construction jobs.

“While we are eager to see even more construction employment gains, there is no denying the fact that the industry has been in recovery mode for much of the past three years,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's CEO.

“But the industry won't be able to keep filling positions if there aren't enough qualified workers available to fill them.”

AGC officials urge federal, state and local officials to enact measures to make it easier for school districts, local associations and private firms to establish career and technical education and training programs.

Sandherr added: “It is time to align our education and training systems with current economic conditions so more young people can benefit from the rebound in construction demand.”

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


Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); Business conditions; Construction; Economy; Good Technical Practice; Labor; Market trends; North America; Workers

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