Construction employment was mostly steady during the six months ending in August, as hiring by nonresidential building contractors offset layoffs by homebuilders and their subcontractors. Contractors had added 298,000 jobs the previous year.
Heavy contractors have added very few jobs this year because many heavy projects were delayed or cancelled when budgets that were set several years earlier no longer covered project costs.
While net hiring will resume in the fall once homebuilders adjust their staff levels, the hiring pace will be less than half of the aggressive hiring seen in 2004-05.
Construction wages are expected to rise faster next year after several years of minimal change. This increase will happen even as unemployment rates will hold steady at around 4.7%, and commodity-driven inflation ebbs as oil prices tumble. Workers expect catch-up raises to cover the inflation surge experienced during last year.