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U.S. construction job openings continue spike

DCN News Services
U.S. construction job openings continue spike

ARLINGTON, VA. — Construction employment in the United States increased by 21,000 jobs in June and by 224,000, or 3.2 per cent, over the past 12 months, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials noted in a July 5 statement that firms continue to increase pay as they work to attract new hires from an ever-tighter labor market.

The unemployment rate for jobseekers who last worked in construction declined to 4.0 per cent from 4.7 per cent in June 2018, and the number of such workers decreased in the last year from 466,000 to 390,000. Another government series showed that the number of job openings in construction, last reported for May, totalled 360,000, the highest May total in the 19-year history of that series. 

Most of the construction job growth during the past month and year came from the ICI sector. Non-residential contractors added 14,900 jobs in June and 146,700 jobs during the past year. Meanwhile, residential contractors added 6,000 jobs in the past month and 78,000 jobs between June 2018 and June 2019.

The release noted that average hourly earnings in construction — a measure of all wages and salaries — increased 3.2 per cent over the year to $30.73 (all figures in U.S. dollars).

That figure was 10.1 per cent higher than the private-sector average of $27.90, the association noted.

“Construction firms continue to go to great lengths to recruit and retain workers during one of the tightest labour markets many of them have ever experienced,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Making matters worse, relatively few school districts offer the kind of career and technical education programs that signal to students that they should explore careers in high-paying fields like construction.”

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