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Analysis: Industry hourly wage climbs 3 percent over previous year

Average hourly earnings for construction workers climbed 3 percent in December from the same month a year earlier, according to an analysis of federal data.

The analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America released on Friday shows earnings in the industry climbed to $29.24 an hour on average. The jump was a steeper increase than for the total private sector, which rose 2.5 percent to an average of $26.63 an hour over the same 12-month span.

Ken Simonson, AGC of America’s chief economist, noted in a news release that construction pays 9.8 percent more an hour than the average non-farm private-sector job in the U.S.

The association’s analysis also found that construction employment increased by 30,000 jobs in December, hitting the highest level seen since September 2008.

“Construction pay is now almost 10 percent higher than the private-sector average. Nevertheless, contractors report increasing difficulty filling many types of hourly craft and salaried openings, given the low rate of unemployment throughout the economy, including construction,” said Simonson.

The new figures come as 75 percent of construction firms responding to a recent AGC survey said they planned to hire in 2018.

“Most construction firms plan to add workers during 2018 as demand for all types of construction continues to expand,” Stephen Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, said in the news release. “The biggest challenge they face will be finding qualified workers to hire as the labor market continues to tighten.”

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