The increase in construction jobs slowed in June, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Following an estimated increase of 29,000 in May, June saw just 13,000 new construction jobs, bringing the estimated total of new jobs for the year to 282,000.
The Associated General Contractors of America noted that the preliminary numbers released on Friday represent a 10-year high for construction employment.
“The construction industry continues to add workers faster than the economy as a whole, and the industry is paying premium wages to attract and retain those workers,” Ken Simonson, chief economist at AGC, said in a statement.
Overall, employment increased by 213,000 jobs in June, according to BLS, putting the unemployment rate for June at 4%. That’s up slightly from May, but still below the year-ago rate of 4.3%.
Total construction jobs numbered 7.2 million in June. Residential building, including construction and specialty trade contractors, accounted for 39% of those jobs, more than half of which are in specialty trades.
“The employment gains are occurring in both residential and nonresidential construction,” Simonson added in the statement. “However, the industry is having to rely more and more on workers without construction experience, as the pool of unemployed construction workers has nearly evaporated.”
Average hourly earnings also continued their increase, rising slightly from an estimated $29.66 in May to $29.71 in June, preliminary data show. Average weekly hours, however, dropped from 39.5 to 39.3.
Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of AGC, pointed to actions taken by Congress and the Trump administration that have created ” a more positive business environment” as reasons for the increase.
“But new trade disputes and chronic underfunding of career and technical education programs pose a real threat to continued employment gains in the sector,” he added.
[Related: Metro Denver growth offers opportunities, challenges for builders]
Danielle Andrus was previously the managing editor for Colorado Builder, and is currently Editor for the Journal of Financial Planning.