Record Number Of Unfilled Positions At End Of May
According to a recent news release by the Associated General Contractors of America, federal employment data showed the construction industry added 13,000 jobs in June, while the number of jobseekers with construction experience plunged to a record low for the month.
The data reflects a growing concern in the construction industry, as jobs continue to go unfilled. It showed the unemployment rate among jobseekers with construction experience decreased from 7.5 percent in June 2021 to 3.7 percent last month, the lowest rate for June in the 23-year history of the report.
Perhaps more alarming, the number of unemployed experienced construction workers fell by 47 percent, leaving AGC officials to suggest there are few experienced workers to hire.
“Although nonresidential contractors were able to add employees in June, the industry needs more as demand for projects is outpacing the supply of workers,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “With industry unemployment at a record low for June and openings at an all-time high for May, it is clear contractors can’t fill all the positions they would like to.”
In June, nonresidential construction gains offset the first decline in residential employment in 14 months. Nonresidential firms added an estimated 16,500 employees.
Association officials acknowledged the need to recruit new men and women into the industry, which is ripe with employment opportunities.
“The industry is working hard to recruit new people into the many high-paying career opportunities that are available,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But too few current and future workers are ever even exposed to construction as a career choice, undermining interest in an industry that everyone sees but too few appreciate.”
Throughout Northeast Ohio, there is a need for individuals to begin a career as an apprentice in the following fields: pipefitter, plumber, sprinkler fitter or HVAC service technician.
An apprentice is a worker who learns a craft by working on jobsites with experienced journeymen, plus receives related classroom instruction.
The apprenticeship model, commonly called the “earn while you learn model,” is employed by Joint Apprenticeship Training Committees (JATC), in conjunction with their signatory contractors who are affiliated with United Association Local Unions.
The training period for UA apprentices looking to become pipefitters, plumbers, sprinkler fitters and HVAC service technicians is five years. During this time, apprentices earn livable wages as they work alongside journeymen learning how to efficiently and safely perform the work. Additionally, apprentices receive mandatory classroom instruction to learn practical and theoretical aspects of the industry and take hands-on labs to gain additional skills and improve their existing skillset.
Men and women 18 years of age and old are eligible to apply to any apprenticeship. Applicants must be physically able to perform the work of the trade and are required to have either a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate. Furthermore, all applicants must take an entrance exam.
The apprenticeship programs provide equal opportunity to all people, regardless of race, sex, ethnic group, religion or age. Equal opportunity also means equal treatment in pay, promotions, layoffs and evaluations.
For more information on piping trades apprenticeships, visit our Joint Apprenticeship Program page.