ARLINGTON, VA. — Construction employment in the United States increased by 58,000 jobs in February to the highest level since November 2008 with gains in both residential and nonresidential segments, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Construction employment totalled 6,881,000 in February, an increase of 58,000 from the upwardly revised January total and an increase of 219,000 or 3.3 per cent from a year ago.
The year-over-year growth rate was almost double the 1.8 per cent rise in total nonfarm payroll employment. Average hourly earnings in construction amounted to $28.48 or 9.2 per cent more than the average for the overall private sector.
Residential construction, comprising residential building and specialty trade contractors, added 18,900 jobs in February and 136,200, or 5.3 per cent, compared to a year ago.
Nonresidential construction (building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction) employment increased by 38,500 employees in February and 82,600 employees, or 2 per cent, over 12 months.
"These numbers match what many contractors have been telling the association, that demand remains strong for a variety of construction projects and that firms are still hiring, when they can find qualified workers," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist.
"The increase from January to February was the largest one-month gain since 2007, which probably reflected the exceptionally mild weather conditions in much of the nation in February.
"However, the year-over-year growth was similar to the industry's employment growth rates since last spring, showing that the job gains in February were not solely weather-related."
Average pay in construction is nine per cent higher than in the private sector as a whole.