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Construction employment reaches highest level in nine years

Construction employment increased by 5,000 jobs in April, reaching the highest level in more than nine years, according to www.agc.org. However, a shortage of available qualified workers likely limited the number of new jobs added last month.

"Construction firms continued adding new jobs at a faster rate than the broader economy during the past year as demand for their services remains strong," says Stephen E. Sandherr, the Associated General Contractors of America's (AGC's) CEO. "But many firms would likely have added even more new workers if only they could find enough qualified people to bring on board."

Construction employment totaled 6.877 million in April, an increase of 5,000 from March and 173,000, or 2.6 percent, from April 2016.

Residential construction added 900 jobs in April and is up by 109,300, or 4.2 percent, compared with a year ago. Nonresidential construction employment increased by 3,200 in April and by 63,500, or 1.5 percent, during the past 12 months. However, employment among nonresidential specialty trade contractors fell by 5,100 jobs during the past month.

The number of unemployed construction workers increased from 530,000 in April 2016 to 585,000 last month as more former construction workers attempted to return to the construction sector.

Construction officials said construction labor shortages were becoming more severe in many parts of the U.S. after years of decreased investing in career and technical education programs. They urged federal government action to increase funding for career and technical education and urged state and local leaders to make it easier for construction firms and local associations to set up regional recruiting and training programs.



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