According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), employment in the construction industry reached its highest level in March since June 2009. Government data analyzed by AGC showed that construction organizations added 19,000 workers to their payrolls. This helped to reduce the industry’s unemployment to its lowest level in seven years.
In March, construction employment reached 5,964,000 which was a 2.6% gain from the prior year. This was better than the 1.7% increase in total nonfarm employment for the same period. Specialty trade and residential building contractors added a combined total of 9,100 workers in March and 103,000 over 12 months. Nonresidential construction (including building, specialty trades and civil engineering contractors) added 9,900 employees last month and 48,800 since March 2013.
While many construction companies who need workers have been able to get them up to this point in time, an increasing number of contractors are having trouble hiring according to Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. The number of unemployed former construction workers fell to the lowest March level since 2007, because more of these experienced individuals are switching to another industry. This in turn is making it harder to find candidates to hire.
Simonson points out that contractors are highly likely to be seeking workers for a variety of construction projects in most parts of the country this spring. Especially strong demand should be seen in manufacturing, multifamily and oil and gas-related facilities.