ARLINGTON, VA. — The U.S. construction industry added 11,000 jobs in January despite bouts of exceptionally cold or stormy weather that delayed projects in numerous regions, according to an analysis of new government data the Associated General Contractors of America released recently.
Construction employment in January totalled 8,137,000, seasonally adjusted, an increase of 11,000 or 0.1 per cent from the December total. The sector has added 216,000 jobs during the past 12 months, a gain of 2.7 per cent, stated a release.
Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 2,700 employees in January and 60,100 (1.8 per cent) over 12 months. Employment at nonresidential construction firms climbed by 7,600 positions for the month and 155,100 (3.3 per cent) since January 2023.
Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in construction, covering most onsite craft workers as well as many office workers, climbed by 5.3 per cent over the year to $35.21 per hour. Construction firms in December provided a wage premium of nearly 19 per cent compared to the average hourly earnings for all private-sector production employees.
Recent government reports on job openings and construction spending show demand for construction workers and projects remains strong, the association reported. Job openings in construction at the end of December totalled 374,000, not seasonally adjusted, greatly exceeding the 227,000 workers hired.
In addition, spending on projects underway that month totalled $2.1 trillion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, 0.9 per cent higher than in November and 14 per cent higher than a year earlier.
“Although job gains were modest last month, other evidence suggests there is still lots of demand for workers,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, in the release. “Wages rose faster than in other sectors, job openings at the end of 2023 were at near-record levels for December, and construction spending jumped that month.”