Residential Jobs Lead Construction Employment Gains in October

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Residential specialty trades led construction job growth in October, according to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the 30,000 new construction jobs last month, nearly 14,000 were in residential trades. Residential building added 2,800 jobs.

Over the past 12 months, construction employment has grown by 330,000. Total construction jobs were over 7.3 million in October, the highest level since April 2008.

The only construction sector to lose jobs was nonresidential building, which fell by 1,100 jobs.

“Job gains remain strong and well balanced between residential and nonresidential construction,” Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors, said in a statement. “Contractors are raising pay faster than at any time since the recession to attract workers from other industries as well as new entrants, yet many firms report they continue to have difficulty filling positions.”

Overall unemployment remained at 3.7%.

Employees worked an average 38.9 hours per week in October. Average weekly hours in the construction industry was relatively unchanged from September and from the year-ago period, at 38.9 and 39 hours respectively.

Average October earnings were $30.21 per hour, up slightly from $30.17 in September and $29.09 last October. By comparison, private employees in all industries earned an average $27.30 per hour last month.

[Related: Construction jobs continued growth in August]

September’s estimate of 134,000 additional construction jobs was revised down to 118,000, BLS found, while the August estimate was revised up from 270,000 to 286,000. BLS noted the revisions offset each other, and job gains have averaged 218,000 over the past three months.

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