Construction employment rose in April by 1,000 for the month and 261,000 for the year as mild winter weather and labor shortages impacted the early spring hiring season for many firms.
Construction employment rose in April by 1,000 for the month and 261,000 for the year as mild winter weather and labor shortages impacted the early spring hiring season for many firms, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that construction spending continues to grow and worker shortages are likely to get worse, which is why they are launching a new online career center to help connect firms with qualified workers.
"Some of the slowdown in hiring last month was due to mild winter weather that allowed contractors to hire or retain workers in the first quarter instead of waiting until spring," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Yet reports from contractors and recent Census Bureau data on construction spending through March suggest industry demand for workers will remain robust, if firms can find employees with the right skills."
Construction employment totaled 6,670,000 in April, the highest level since December 2008, and is up by 261,000 jobs compared to a year ago, a 4.1 percent increase. Residential construction—comprising residential building and specialty trade contractors—declined by 3,800 jobs in April but is up by 140,800, or 5.7 percent, compared to a year ago. Nonresidential construction—building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction firms--added 4,400 jobs for the month and 120,100 jobs compared to April 2015, a 3.0 percent increase.
Meanwhile, the number of unemployed jobseekers in April who last worked in construction totaled 530,000, the lowest April total since 2000. The unemployment rate for such workers was 6.0 percent, a 16-year low for April. As the number of unemployed construction workers continued to decline, average hourly earnings for the construction industry continued to grow, up 2.3 percent compared to April 2015.
Association official noted that many firms report having a hard time finding qualified workers to hire as demand for construction continues to expand. That is why the association is launching a new online job portal for the construction industry called the AGC Career Center. The new site will allow individuals looking for construction jobs to search for postings by location, keywords, categories and experience level and to post their resumes. Employers will be able to post positions, browse resumes and get alerts when new resumes they might be interested in are posted.
"With labor shortages likely to get even more severe, we want to do everything possible to connect qualified workers with firms looking to expand," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "The new career center will make it easier for firms to find workers when they need them."
For more information about the new AGC Career Center, visit www.agc.org/careers/.