An estimated 7,000 people got jobs in construction last month, pushing the industry’s unemployment rate to its lowest level in five years, the Associated General Contractors of America said.
The industry’s seasonally unadjusted May unemployment rate was 10.8 percent, compared with 14.2 percent in May 2012. An estimated 5.8 million were employed in the industry, which was 189,000 more people than a year ago, the association said. Weekly work hours for construction professionals were up by 5.2 percent from year-ago levels.
Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, said the concern now is that there may not be enough workers to continue the industry’s growth.
“Although the monthly job gain in May was modest, both residential and nonresidential construction have been adding workers at roughly double the rate of the overall economy in the past year,” Simonson said. “At the same time, formerly unemployed construction workers are finding jobs in other sectors, retiring or going back to school. These conditions may lead abruptly to worker shortages in parts of the industry, such as welders and pipefitters.”