Construction employers added 45,000 jobs in April and 280,000 over the past year, as the sector's unemployment rate fell to a nine-year April low of 7.5 percent, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that even as the industry continues to expand, growth has been erratic and inconsistent.
"Construction employment resumed strong growth in April after slipping in March and is now growing at more than double the growth rate for total nonfarm employment," said Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist. "Nevertheless, job growth remains spotty with the nonresidential building sector losing jobs even as other construction sectors expanded."
According to the AGC report, construction employment totaled 6,384,000 in April, compared to 6,338,000 in March and 6,103,000 in April 2014. Residential building and specialty trade contractors added 23,600 jobs (1 percent) since March and 153,300 jobs (6.7 percent) over 12 months. Nonresidential contractors hired a net of 20,800 workers for the month and 126,100 (3.3 percent) since April 2014.
The number of unemployed construction workers, 652,000, is at the lowest level since 2001. However, Simonson cautioned that reports of construction worker shortages are likely to grow over the coming months. "With construction employment likely to continue to expand for the foreseeable future, labor conditions are likely to get even tighter."