flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
Currently Reading

Construction unemployment hits eight-year low, some states struggle to find qualified labor

Construction unemployment hits eight-year low, some states struggle to find qualified labor

In certain markets—especially those where oil drilling and production have been prospering—construction workers can still be scarce.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | November 19, 2014
Photo: Rob Aylward/U.S. Navy via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Rob Aylward/U.S. Navy via Wikimedia Commons

The construction industry, whose workforce was decimated during the last recession, is slowly getting back on its feet. However, in certain markets—especially those where oil drilling and production have been prospering—construction workers can still be scarce.

Based on a survey of nearly 1,100 member firms in October, the Associated General Contractors of America (www.agc.org) reported that 83% of respondents were having difficulty finding craft workers, and 61% said other professional positions were hard to fill.  

That being said, it appears employment pressures are easing. AGC’S analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that construction employers added 12,000 jobs in October, dropping the industry’s unemployment rate to 6.4%, its lowest level since October 2006.

In fact, construction employment in October, at 6,095,000, was the highest it’s been since May 2009, with 231,000 jobs added over the last 12 months, a 3.9% gain.

Residential construction is driving the market’s employment, as 130,600 residential and specialty trade contractor jobs have been added over the past year, representing a 6% increase over the same period in the previous year. Jobs for nonresidential and specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering, rose by 2.7%, or 99,800, over the past 12 months.

Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist, notes that all construction employees worked an average of 39.2 hours per week in October, tying the highest mark since the association has been tracking this data since March 2006.  And wages have been rising at their fastest rate—2.6% in the past year—since early 2010.

Still, AGC sees uncertainty in the future construction employment picture, and is calling on government officials to enact measures that would make it easier for school districts, local associations and private companies to establish career and technical education programs.

The Association’s concerns about where the industry is going to find its next generation of labor stem, in part, from its research which shows that its members in the South are most likely to struggle with labor shortages, particularly places like Louisiana where pipeline, refinery, and petrochemical construction jobs have boomed.

That boom has been a double-edged sword, in that the oil industry is grappling to find qualified labor. A recent article posted on the website Industrial Info Resources quotes John Floren, CEO of Methanex, the world’s largest producer of methanol, who said that projected costs for two projects in Geismar, La., rose by $300 million, largely because of labor costs and productivity issues. 

And if, as expected, oil-related projects ramp up, labor shortages in Gulf States could become more acute in 2016 and 2017, according to industry observers quoted by Industrial Info Resources.

Related Stories

Performing Arts Centers | Jul 5, 2022

Tour the new Patricia Reser Center for the Arts in Oregon

This month, the community of Beaverton, Oregon, welcomed a new haven for artistic expression with the opening of Patricia Reser Center for the Arts (The Reser).

Building Team | Jul 5, 2022

Dallas’ Fair Park, home to the Texas State Fair, will place a park atop a new parking garage

A registered National Historic Landmark, Fair Park is the 227-acre home to the Texas State Fair and various cultural institutions in Dallas, Tex.

Market Data | Jul 1, 2022

Nonresidential construction spending slightly dips in May, says ABC

National nonresidential construction spending was down by 0.6% in May, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data published today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Building Team | Jul 1, 2022

How to apply WELL for better design outcomes

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) cites attracting top talent, increasing productivity, and improving environmental, social or governance (ESG) performance as key outcomes of leveraging tools like their WELL Building Standard to develop healthier environments.

Building Team | Jul 1, 2022

Less portable potty, more movable restroom

Some contractors are packing up their portable potties and instead using the H3 Wellness Hub.

Market Data | Jun 30, 2022

Yardi Matrix releases new national rent growth forecast

Rents in most American cities continue to rise slightly each month, but are not duplicating the rapid escalation rates exhibited in 2021.

Headquarters | Jun 30, 2022

Lenovo to build its new global headquarters in Beijing

Washington, D.C.-based architecture and design firm CallisonRTKL has announced it will create the new global headquarters in Beijing for Lenovo Group, a Chinese multinational personal technology company.

Mass Timber | Jun 29, 2022

Mass timber competition: building to net-zero winning proposals

The 2022 Mass Timber Competition: Building to Net-Zero is a design competition to expand the use of mass timber in the United States by demonstrating its versatility across building types and its ability to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment.

Laboratories | Jun 29, 2022

The "collaboratory" brings digital innovation to the classroom

The Collaboratory—a mix of collaboration and laboratory—is a networking center being designed at the University of Denver’s College of Business.

Airports | Jun 29, 2022

BIG and HOK’s winning design for Zurich airport’s new terminal

Two years ago, Zurich Airport, which opened in the 1950s, launched an international design competition to replace the aging Dock A—the airport’s largest dock.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category




Building Team

How to apply WELL for better design outcomes

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) cites attracting top talent, increasing productivity, and improving environmental, social or governance (ESG) performance as key outcomes of leveraging tools like their WELL Building Standard to develop healthier environments.

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021

 


Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: