The U.S. construction industry added jobs for a 13th consecutive month with 23,000 workers added to payrolls in August.
Total industry employment stands at 7.259 million, according to preliminary data from the Labor Department, an increase of 297,000 workers, or 4 percent, since August 2017.
The August total represents a 10-year employment high for the industry, and the highest total since 7.274 million workers were employed by the industry in May 2008.
Hourly earnings in construction averaged $29.95 in August, up 3.3 percent from August 2017, according to a data analysis from the Associated General Contractors of America. AGC reports that construction’s hourly earnings are 10.3 percent higher than the average for all nonfarm private-sector jobs.
AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said in a statement that construction employment and pay rates are increasing faster than the U.S. economy as a whole, noting that construction’s job gains are not due solely to increased activity among homebuilders. Simonson says the employment increases are spread across both residential and non-residential projects.
“But contractors report widespread difficulty in finding qualified workers for both salaried and hourly craft positions,” Simonson warned. The AGC’s latest workforce survey found that 80 percent of responding contractors are having a hard time filling these positions, a total up from 78 percent in January and up from 73 percent in January 2017. You can read our full coverage of that workforce survey here.
Construction’s unemployment rate was flat in August, remaining at 3.4 percent.
The U.S. economy added 201,000 jobs in August, while unemployment was unchanged from July at 3.9 percent.