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Industry employment tops 7.3M in October

Construction employment exceeded 7.3 million in October, the first time it has done so in more than 10 years.

Nationally, the industry added 330,000 jobs from October 2017 to October this year, according to an analysis of government data released by the Associated General Contractors of America on Friday. That brought the total number of people working in construction to 7.318 million.

The residential side of the industry added 143,500 jobs over the course of the year and the nonresidential added 187,200 jobs. The increases have come amid a protracted labor shortage, putting upward pressure on pay as contractors struggle find new employees.

Average earnings in the construction industry hit $30.21 an hour in October. That was up 3.9 percent from the same month a year ago, showing the biggest annual increase seen since June 2009. Average construction wages are now 10.7 percent higher than average wages for all nonfarm private-sector jobs.

“Job gains remain strong and well balanced between residential and nonresidential construction,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Contractors are raising pay faster than at any time since the recession to attract workers from other industries as well as new entrants, yet many firms report they continue to have difficulty filling positions.”

And the unemployment rate in October for people who are out of work and last worked in construction was 3.6 percent, down from 4.5 percent in October 2017.

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