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Construction Employment Increased In December

Arlington, VA - Construction employment increased by 38,000 jobs in December 2018 and by 280,000 jobs, or 4.0 percent, over the past year, while the industry’s average pay accelerated and unemployment decreased to an historic low, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials added that most contractors report they plan to continue hiring in 2019, according to the association’s annual outlook that was released in early January.

“Demand for construction remains strong across most project types and locations,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Job growth and pay increases in construction are outpacing those in the overall economy. But contractors continue to have difficulty finding qualified workers with the number of unemployed workers who have construction experience at the lowest December level in 19 years.”

Construction employment totaled 7,352,000 in December, the highest level since March 2008. Employment in residential construction—comprising residential building and specialty trade contractors—inched up by 1,700 jobs for the month and 99,800 jobs over the past 12 months, a 3.6 percent increase. Employment in nonresidential construction—including building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction—grew by 35,800 jobs in December and grew by 180,100 jobs during the past year, a 4.2 percent increase, the economist remarked.

Hourly earnings in the industry averaged $30.44 in December, a rise of 3.9 percent from a year earlier, Simonson noted. Average hourly earnings in construction are now 10.8 percent higher than the average for all nonfarm private-sector jobs, which rose 3.2 percent in the past year, to $27.48.

The unemployment rate for jobseekers with construction experience in December was 5.1 percent, down more from 5.9 percent in December 2017. The number of such workers fell to 493,000 from 554,000 a year earlier. Both figures were the lowest for December since the series began in 2000.

About The Associated General Contractors Of America

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is a leading association for the construction industry. AGC represents more than 26,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. More than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC, all through a nationwide network of chapters. To learn more, visit www.agc.org.

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