The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that construction industry employment surged by 17,000 jobs in April, reversing March’s loss of an upwardly revised 10,000 positions.
Since April 2017, the construction sector has added 257,000 new jobs, bringing total industry employment to 7.17 million, a post-recession high. This is still approximately 550,000 off the April 2006 prerecession peak of 7.726 million, but employment has trended up since hitting its 5.43 million low in January 2011.
Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between April 2017 and April 2018, while 29 states added construction jobs between March and April, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data.
California & West Virginia have biggest annual job gains, North Dakota has largest decline; California & Louisiana have largest monthly pickup, Indiana & North Dakota lead monthly drops.
The average construction wage is 10.4% higher than that of all other non-farm industries, and the uptick in pay, according to the AGC, is finally starting to draw in those who already have construction experience. In fact, the number of those with construction experience looking for work in the industry increased by 38,000 since April 2017.
Association officials said strong demand, particularly from the private-sector, was prompting firms in most states to add staff. But they cautioned that relatively few young workers appear to be entering the construction industry.
They said the strong economy was increasing competition for most workers and construction recruiting is hampered by the fact relatively few schools offer instruction in construction skills or counsel students to consider high-paying construction careers.