Not since the spring of 2008, when the Great Recession was still in its infancy, has the national construction industry seen numbers like these.
According to a report just released by the Associated General Contractors of America, there are now more than 7.2 million people employed in construction work; the largest recorded workforce since May of 2008.
The new record was notched with an increase of 13,000 new construction jobs in June, contributing to a jump of 282,000 jobs since the spring of last year.
In a statement, Ken Simonson, the chief economist for the AGC, said the national construction industry is adding workers “faster than the economy as whole,” with the industry “paying premium wages to attract and retain those workers.”
Simonson added that the employment gains were taking place in both residential and nonresidential construction.
However, he noted that the industry is also “having to rely more and more on workers without construction experience, as the pool of unemployed construction workers has nearly evaporated.”
Among the other findings of the AGC report: residential construction employment, made up of residential building and specialty trade contractors, grew by 4,400 jobs in June and nearly 134,000 jobs in the last 12 months.
Nonresidential construction, comprising the specialty trades and both heavy and civil engineering construction, was up by 8,600 jobs in June and nearly 148,000 jobs over May of last year.
During the depths of the Great Recession, between 2007 and 2009, the construction industry lost more than 1.5 million jobs, for an overall employment decline of nearly 20 percent.
By Garry Boulard
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