- The construction sector added 19,000 jobs in February, and the number of unemployed workers fell to the industry's lowest rate since tracking began in 2000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Associated General Contractors of America reported Friday.
- In February, construction employment was at 6,631,000 — the highest number since December 2008 and 4.0% higher than February 2015, according to the AGC.
- Within the construction industry, employment in the nonresidential sector rose by 3,500 jobs, and the residential segment added 15,900 jobs.
"It appears that many nonresidential construction firms have run out of people to hire to keep pace with demand for new projects," AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said in a release.
February's job gains reflect the recent slowdown of construction employment that started in January, when the industry added 18,000 jobs after major gains during the previous three months. Experts have pointed to the softening oil industry as the likely source of the major surge in employment between October and December, when workers pivoted to construction after leaving the energy sector.
The construction labor shortage has consistently been the industry's top concern, and companies have said they don't expect the situation to ease anytime soon. In a September AGC survey, 86% of contractors across the U.S. reported they were struggling to fill hourly craft jobs or salaried professional positions.
Industry groups have consistently warned that the construction industry needs to develop a plan to build up the worker pipeline, with some suggesting marketing efforts, a greater focus on technical training in school, immigration reform and a broad coalition effort.