Nonresidential construction jobs jumped in January, and general construction wages rose over the past year, stated Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), after the January employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
"Nonresidential construction employment growth has been sizzling," said Simonson. "Over the past 12 months, nonresidential building contractors and nonresidential specialty trades have boosted employment by 160,000, or 5 percent … A further favorable omen for nonresidential construction is that architectural and engineering employment rose more than 5 percent in the past year. That should translate into additional construction work in the next several months.
"Construction wages rose 4.5 percent in the last 12 months, outpacing the 4 percent increase for all private industry production workers," Simonson continued. "Part of this reflects a changing mix of construction jobs, away from lower-skilled homebuilding and remodeling to skilled nonresidential crafts. But it may also indicate that contractors are ratcheting up pay to find the workers they need.
"BLS sharply increased its estimate of total construction employment as part of its normal annual revision process for all industries," Simonson concluded. "The January 2007 count of 7,715,000, seasonally adjusted, is more than 200,000 higher than appeared likely a month ago."
A podcast discussing the latest construction jobs and spending trends will be available at www.agc.org/podcast.
AGC is the largest and oldest national construction trade association in the United States. It represents more than 32,000 firms, including 7,000 general contractors and more than 11,000 specialty-contracting firms. Visit www.agc.org for more info.