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Construction employment increases in December 2017

Construction employment increased by 30,000 jobs in December 2017 to the highest level since September 2008, according to www.agc.org.

"Employment and pay in construction have risen more rapidly over the past year than in the economy overall, as the supply of unemployed, experienced workers continues to shrink," says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). "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."

Construction employment totaled 6.993 million in December 2017, an increase of 30,000 from November 2017 and 210,000, or 3.1 percent, from December 2016.

Residential construction added 18,200 jobs in December 2017 and 86,400 jobs, or an increase of 3.2 percent, during the past 12 months. Nonresidential construction added 11,800 jobs in December 2017 and 123,100 jobs, or an increase of 3 percent, during the past 12 months.

The number of unemployed jobseekers with recent construction experience fell to 554,000 in December 2017 from 670,000 in December 2016, and the unemployment rate in construction dropped to 5.9 percent in December 2017 from 7.4 percent a year earlier. Simonson says the declines show how difficult it has become for the industry to find experienced workers.



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