- The construction industry lost 6,000 jobs in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Associated General Contractors of America reported Friday.
- Construction employment was at 6,640,000 in August. Despite the dip in employment last month, year-over-year employment totals were still 3.1% higher than August 2015. Average hourly earnings in construction rose 2.8% in the past year to $28.22 in August — almost 10% higher than the average across the overall private sector.
- Within the industry, the residential sector added 11,000 jobs last month, while the nonresidential sector lost 17,000 positions, according to the AGC.
The BLS revised July's employment numbers down from a 14,000-job gain to only an 11,000-job gain. Between April and August, the construction industry lost 25,000 net jobs after adding 68,000 between January and March, according to the Associated Builders and Contractors.
The construction worker shortage continues to plague the majority of the industry, as 69% of firms surveyed in an AGC report released earlier this week said they are struggling to find hourly craft workers. As a result of the labor shortage, 48% of surveyed companies said they have increased pay for hourly craft workers, 48% have ramped up in-house training, and 47% have added more overtime hours.
AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said there are currently fewer unemployed workers who have experience in the construction industry than any point since 2000. As a result, some construction firms have resorted to lowering their standards when bringing on new employees, and therefore are more concerned about safety of their workers with less experience in the field.
Industry groups have consistently warned that construction 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.