- Construction employment rose by only 1,000 jobs in April, resulting from increased hiring earlier in the first quarter made possible by mild winter weather, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Associated General Contractors of America.
- Year-over-year construction employment was up 4.1% (261,000) in April to a total of 6,670,000, the highest number since December 2008. The industry unemployment rate fell to 6% (530,000) compared to last month, the biggest dip since April 2005.
- The nonresidential sector still managed to add 4,400 jobs in April, but the residential sector lost 3,800 jobs, according to the AGC.
Despite the relatively small increase in April employment, AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said construction spending through March indicates that demand for workers will remain strong. However, the ongoing labor shortage is making it increasingly difficult for employers to find qualified workers. "Reports from contractors and recent Census Bureau data on construction spending through March suggest industry demand for workers will remain robust, if firms can find employees with the right skills," he said in a release.
Nevertheless, ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu said a down residential sector could soon be followed by the same trend in the nonresidential sector. This trend, he said, could be the reason behind a disappointing overall rate of construction spending, which emerged in the most recent Commerce Department construction spending report.
The AGC said that because construction demand is expected to increase — and because contractors are still reporting a concern about future availability of skilled labor — it has created the AGC Career Center, an online construction job portal for both jobseekers and employers. The AGC said its goal is to make it easier for employers to find workers in the face of potential shortages.