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Construction employment increases in November

Construction employment increased by 24,000 jobs in November to the highest level in nine years, 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). "With unemployment so low overall and in construction, contractors are likely to have increasing trouble filling many types of hourly craft and salaried openings."

Construction employment totaled 6.955 million in November, an increase of 24,000 from October and 184,000, or 2.7 percent, from November 2016.

AGC officials say tight margins are keeping firms from paying even more to attract hard-to-find workers, noting that efforts to cut tax rates should help lead to higher average hourly earnings for the construction sector.

Residential construction added 14,800 jobs in November and 85,900 jobs, or an increase of 3.2 percent, during the past 12 months. Nonresidential construction added 8,600 jobs in November and 97,700 jobs, or an increase of 2.4 percent, during the past 12 months.

The number of unemployed jobseekers with recent construction experience fell to 467,000 in November from 517,000 in November 2016, and the unemployment rate in construction dropped to 5 percent in November from 5.7 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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