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Job Boom Spurs Calls for More Training

Monday, October 13, 2014

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U.S. construction unemployment, which neared 20 percent at the height of the recession, has now shrunk to just seven percent, with 230,000 jobs added in the last year, a new analysis shows.

Construction employers added 16,000 jobs between August and September, bringing the total to 6,079,000, the highest rate seen since May 2009. September's unemployment rate of seven percent was the lowest September mark in seven years, according to a report by the Associated General Contractors of America.

©iStock / microgen

Employment among heavy and civil engineering contractors is growing more slowly than in other sectors, due to continuing tight government budgets, according to AGC.

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

Growth Seen

Residential and specialty trade contractors added a combined 11,800 employees between August and September 2014 and added 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.

Calls for Training

The employment gains coincide with continuing concerns by some construction firms over finding qualified workers to fill available positions. Employers are reporting a lack of local vocational training, 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; Jobs; Labor; Market trends; North America; Program/Project Management; Workers

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