- The Associated General Contractors of America reported that job gains were stagnant from July to August, with just 24 states adding construction positions. Year over year, 36 states added jobs between August 2015 and August 2016.
- Michigan (2,600 jobs, 1.8%) created the most positions from July to August, while Wyoming added the highest percentage (2.4%, 500 jobs). Once again adding the most jobs year over year in August was California (29,300, 4.0%), with Iowa (18.7%, 14,400 jobs) beating its July year over year percentage increase in jobs.
- Of the 25 states and Washington, DC, to lose positions from July to August, New York (-4,600 jobs, -1.3%) lost the most, while Alaska (-4.1%, -700 jobs) gave up the highest percentage of jobs. From August 2015 to August 2016, Kansas once again lost the most jobs and also shed the highest percentage (-4,700 jobs, -7.7%).
The AGC said construction work is "cooling" in some areas of the country, but companies in other markets are reporting that the lack of qualified workers is keeping them from increasing their employee rolls. AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said that construction industry growth is still outpacing the U.S. economy overall and that most states have added positions year over year. "Despite some slowing in public construction, apartments and manufacturing projects, contractors in many states say they would be hiring more employees if they could find enough qualified workers," Simonson said in a release.
The construction worker shortage continues to plague the majority of the industry, as 69% of firms surveyed in an AGC report released last month earlier 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.
This persistent lack of skilled workers has caused the AGC to once again focus on a key point in its Workforce Development Plan — increased government spending on career and technical programs. AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr said that more students would enter the construction industry if the Senate made the path easier by enacting House-proposed reforms.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported this month that the construction industry lost 6,000 jobs in August, a steep dive from its 14,000-job increase in July. Despite that loss, construction employment was still up 3.1% from August 2015. In addition, the residential construction sector increased its rolls by 11,000 in August, and average hourly earnings rose 2.8% year over year to $28.22, even though the nonresidential suffered a month-to-month 17,000-job loss.