In its September 2016 National Employment Report, payroll services company ADP said that its U.S. private nonfarm clients added 154,000 jobs in September, with 11,000 of those positions in the construction industry.
Construction rebounded after three months of declining employment numbers, more than making up for the total loss of 10,000 positions during that period.
- The ADP Research Institute and Moody's Analytics produced the September report using ADP's payroll database of 411,000 customers and 24 million workers.
According to the most recent Associated General Contractors of America report, August construction employment grew in only 61% of 358 markets year over year and decreased in 76, the weakest performance in three years. The agency holds this statistic up as further proof that contractors are still having a hard time finding skilled workers. While the number of available jobs is at a 10-year-high, AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said that means the dip in hires has more to do with a lack of available workers than a shortage of work.
In another September report, the AGC said that employment growth stalled between July and August, echoing the ADP results that showed a monthly loss of 2,000 to 3,000 positions for June, July and August. The AGC said infrastructure contractors and construction firms in depressed markets couldn't find enough work, while companies that perform a significant volume of private commercial work or that are located in booming areas of the country couldn't find enough skilled workers to hire.
The AGC has been banging the drum about the labor shortage for quite some time, and the association promotes its Workforce Development Plan as a way to tackle the problem. The plan focuses on career development at the secondary and post-secondary education levels as a way to fill the construction pipeline, not only to meet current demand but also to fill the gap as aging construction workers prepare to retire in the coming years.