Construction employment levels in August ticked higher, adding 28,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis, Associated Builders and Contractors said.
Citing government data, the association said it was the best month for construction jobs in six months.
“Data work in strange ways,” said ABC chief economist Anirban Basu. “In July, overall national job growth remained strong, while construction statistics sagged. One month later, the construction jobs picture looks much brighter, while headline numbers for the broader economy appear a bit less benign.”
The construction industry’s overall employment rate dropped two-tenths and is 4.7 percent.
“Here’s what we know: The U.S. labor market remains strong, as evidenced by enormous numbers of job openings, and construction activity remains robust, especially in certain private segments,” Basu said. “This helps explain the 44,800 net new positions added by nonresidential specialty trade contractors during the past year. There is even evidence of growing demand for public construction services, with the heavy and civil engineering segment adding another 6,600 net new positions in August and more than 45,000 during the past year.”
Basu said he doesn’t expect the industry to falter anytime soon, based on the surveys ABC uses of its members. That means wages are rising.
“Demand for construction workers continues to expand despite occasional contradictory information emerging from monthly statistics,” he said. “Accordingly, construction firms are increasing their scramble rate for employees, driving up hourly compensation in the process.
“Hopefully more Americans will enter the labor market and join apprenticeship or other training programs to participate in the nation’s steadily improving construction economy,” he added. “Not only will this make it easier for firms to deliver construction services on time and on budget, but it will also expand the nation’s tax base, shrink demand for public assistance, expand the middle class and accelerate economic growth.”