In early February, a new report by the Associated General Contractors of America revealed that construction firms added 25,000 employees in January and raised wages for hourly workers more steeply than other sectors.
“Construction employment and pay gains outpaced the economy as a whole in the past year, showing that demand for projects remains strong,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “In fact, most contractors would like to hire even more workers and are raising pay in an effort to attract them.”
According to the report, construction employment totaled a record 7,884,000, seasonally adjusted, in January, an increase of 294,000 or 3.9 percent from a year earlier.
Nonresidential firms added 19,300 workers in January and 179,200 employees, or 4 percent over 12 months. Residential building and specialty trade contractors combined to add 5,500 employees for the month and 114,600 employees or 3.6 percent over the year.
AGC officials believe the numbers could have been higher if there were more qualified people to hire.
“Construction firms are doing everything in their power to recruit even more people into the industry,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “Closing a federal funding gap that puts $5 into college-track programs for every dollar spent on career and technical education will help expose many more workers to high-paying career opportunities in fields like construction.”
The report also noted that pay levels in the construction industry continued to increase in January at a faster pace than in the overall private sector.
Average hourly earnings for tradesmen and tradeswomen climbed by 6.2 percent, from $31.44 in January 2022 to $33.38 last month. This increase exceeded the 5.1 percent rise in average pay for all private-sector production workers.