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Construction jobs, wages climb in September: AGC analysis

Construction jobs rose nearly 4% compared to last year and wages had their biggest year-over-year increase in 40 years, analysts for the Associated General Contractors of America said.

Construction employment added 19,000 jobs last month, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed. Jobs totaled 7,719,000 in September, a 3.9% increase (292,000 added jobs) compared to 2021, the AGC analysis said. The analysis pulls information from research firms, industry indexes and national surveys.

Residential building and specialty trade contractors rose by 6,400 last month, leading to a 3.6% increase (110,500 jobs) compared to 2021, the analysis said. Employment at civil engineering construction firms, building and specialty trades climbed by 13,100 for the month and led to a 4.2% (181,500 jobs) year-over-year increase.

Average hourly earnings were $32.83 per hour for production and nonsupervisory employees in construction, or a 6.7% increase compared to 2021, the analysis said. Wages had the largest increase for the first time in 40 years and exceeded the 5.8% increase for all private sector employees, the AGC added.

Unemployed jobseekers in the construction field fell by 98,000 or 22% year-over-year to 346,000, the analysis said. The industry’s unemployment rate fell from 4.5% to 3.4% without adjustment for seasonal work.

At the end of August, there were 437,000 job openings in construction. The report said hiring increased by 4,000 or 1.1% year-over-year to 378,000 and layoffs fell by 33,000 (20%) year-over-year to 129,000. The number of people quitting jumped by 46,000 or 20% to 281,000.

Many contractors reported their lead times worsened, according to a survey where 93% of 602 respondents said they were facing long lead times for construction materials. Respondents said they were unlikely able to locally source materials like steel, nonferrous metals, plastic products, electrical equipment and HVAC systems.

On the flip side, aggregates and concrete producers said they had additional price increases for the past two to three months, according to a report from Thompson Research Group. Investment research firm officials said price increases over the fall were a mixed bag and fall aggregate prices would be implemented on a market-by-market basis. Fall cement pricing actions will be pushed to January, officials added.

Economic activity in the services sector grew in September for over two years, a report from the Institute for Supply management said. Meanwhile, construction delays affected 90% of multifamily owners and developers, a survey from the National Multifamily Housing Council showed.

The Dodge Momentum Index, a monthly report of nonresidential building project plans, rose 5.7% in September from August and 26% year-over-year, the analysis said. While the institutional part of the index rose 12% for the month and 28% year-over-year, the commercial component increased 2.9% and 25% respectively.

About Ethan Duran

Ethan Duran is the construction and development reporter at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (414) 551-7505 or [email protected]

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