Gains were posted in construction jobs in every region of the country, according to the most recent numbers just released by the federal Department of Labor.
That report showed the construction industry taking on more than 21,000 new workers in June, ahead of the country’s manufacturing industry with 17,000 new jobs, but just behind the transportation and warehousing segments with 24,000 each.
Overall, employers across the country saw the addition of more than 224,000 jobs, a figure above what most analysts anticipated, prompting the New York Times to note that exactly one decade after the Great Recession was first showing signs of improvement, “the job market shows no sign of falling into another slump.”
That 224,000 job gain is the largest number posted since January of this year, and a sign that although some forecasters were worried about the impact of recent trade tensions, the overall job market remains buoyant.
Looking at the Labor Department’s numbers, the Washington-based Association of General Contractors noted that construction employment was up in more than two-thirds of the nation’s largest metro areas in the last year.
Seen through a wider prism of job numbers from May of 2018 to May of this year, the AGC noted that construction job increased in 249 metro areas, and decreased in only 57 such areas.
The AGC study additionally noted that the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area in Arizona added more than 15,100 jobs in the last year.
That gain was by far the largest of all metro areas in the country, with the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California area seeing 9,200 more jobs during the same time period; and the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell area in Georgia up by around 8,600 new jobs.
The only downside to such trends, noted Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s chief executive officer, is what has become an almost desperate search by construction companies to expand their payrolls.
“Many of our member firms report they are having a hard time finding qualified workers to keep pace with demand for construction services,” said Sandherr in a statement.
Sandherr added that “even though firms are raising pay, boosting training and adding hiring incentives to recruit workers, many are still struggling to find as many employees as they need.”
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta noted that altogether more than 5.6 million new jobs have been created in the preceding 29 months.
Acosta also added that wages have increased at or above 3 percent for “eleven straight months,” while wage growth for “production and non-supervisory workers increased 3.4 percent over the past 12 months.”
The AGC survey of the Labor Department’s numbers additionally showed construction job increases of 5 to 10 percent in southern New Mexico and northwest Arizona, with increases of 0 to 5 percent in east central Colorado.
By Garry Boulard
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