- Construction employment rose to its highest level since 2009, as the industry added 31,000 jobs in October. That number is more than four times the job gains of the previous four months combined, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors. The construction unemployment rate dropped to 6.2%, the lowest October rate since 2007.
- Nonresidential construction led the industry in employment gains with an addition of 24,900 jobs, up almost 4.5% from last year. Residential construction added 6,000 jobs in October, also up approximately 4% from last year, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.
- AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said the large jump in construction jobs in October could be the result of successful recruiting efforts and an increase in wages, but he cautioned that the industry is still vulnerable to labor shortages.
According to Simonson, October hiring signals that the recent sluggishness in construction employment was more a result of labor availability than lack of demand. "Construction firms," he said, "appear to have had an easier time finding workers in October than they did during the summer."
As usual, however, the AGC took the opportunity to remind the industry that due to the coming surge in retirements and the lack of younger workers entering the industry, the labor shortage will likely continue to plague the industry.
"While firms were able to find a larger number of workers this month than during the summer, the supply of qualified workers remains tight," said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. "It is time to start exposing more students to the fact they can make a very good wage and enjoy rewarding careers in construction."