Construction adds 25,000 workers In January as pay increases outpace overall private sector

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Construction firms added 25,000 employees in January and raised wages for hourly workers more steeply than other sectors, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. Officials concluded the construction industry was benefitting from relatively strong demand for construction projects as firms struggle to fill available positions in the sector.

“Construction employment and pay gains outpaced the economy as a whole in the past year, showing that demand for projects remains strong,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “In fact, most contractors would like to hire even more workers and are raising pay in an effort to attract them.”

With a 3.9 per cent jump to 7,884,000, seasonally adjusted, in January, the growth rate topped the 3.3 percent rise in total nonfarm employment.

Nonresidential firms—including nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors along with heavy and civil engineering construction firms—added 19,300 employees in January and 179,200 employees or 4.0 percent over 12 months. Residential building and specialty trade contractors together added 5,500 employees for the month and 114,600 employees or 3.6 percent over the year.

Pay levels in the construction industry continued to increase in January at a faster pace than in the overall private sector. Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers in construction—mostly hourly craft workers—climbed by 6.2 percent, from $31.44 in January 2022 to $33.38 last month. That increase exceeded the 5.1 percent rise in average pay for all private sector production workers. Workers in construction now earn an average of 18.1 percent more per hour than in the private sector as a whole.

Association officials said the industry likely would have added even more jobs if firms could find more people to hire, noting that 80 percent of firms in the association’s recent survey reported having a difficult time finding qualified workers.

“Construction firms are doing everything in their power to recruit even more people into the industry,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Closing a federal funding gap that puts $5 into college-track programs for every dollar spent on career and technical education will help expose many more workers to high-paying career opportunities in fields like construction.”

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