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September 26, 2018


As the nation’s economy continues to grow, the job market also improves. Some sectors are benefitting more than others. According to a recent analysis, construction jobs are out in front.

In September, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reported on its analysis of government jobs data. The organization found that construction employment increased by 23,000 jobs in August and by 297,000 jobs over the past year.

Construction employment totaled 7,259,000 in August. That represents a 12-month gain of 4.5 percent, and it is the highest level in over 10 years. Meanwhile, unemployment in the construction industry sector also reached an all-time low.

With its gains, the industry also appears to be setting the pace for all other sectors.

“The construction industry continues to add workers and increase pay at greater rates than the economy as a whole,” said Ken Simonson, the AGC's chief economist. He noted that the year-over-year growth rate in industry jobs was more than double the 1.6 percent rise in total nonfarm payroll employment.

The job gains don’t vary much by types of construction. In fact, residential and commercial construction are adding jobs at about the same rate. According to AGC, residential construction added nearly 13,000 jobs in August and 137,000 jobs over the past 12 months. That’s a 5.1 percent increase. Meanwhile, non-residential construction added 9,600 jobs over the past month and 160,500 during the past year, a 3.8 percent increase.

Wages are also on the upswing. According to the AGC, hourly earnings in the construction industry averaged $29.95 in August, an increase of 3.3 percent from a year earlier. They are now 10.3 percent higher than the average for all nonfarm private-sector jobs, which also rose 2.9 percent in the past year to $27.16.

Circumstances suggest the economy will continue to favor workers in the construction industry. The AGC also reports that, even as firms continue to expand, most struggle to find enough workers to keep up with demand.