July Construction Employment Increases in 39 States from a Year Ago and in 34 States from the Prior Month

Construction firms added jobs in 39 states from July 2013 to July 2014 and in 34 states from June to July, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the employment gains are good news, but that the pipeline of skilled craft workers, supervisors and other employees appears to be emptying rapidly.

"The overall trend in construction employment has been very consistent in 2014, with more than three-fourths of states adding jobs each month on a year-over-year basis," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "However, growing numbers of contractors say they are having trouble finding skilled workers or subcontractors that can supply such workers."

Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner Resigns

Christopher J. Godfrey will resign to take a federal position, but will continue pursuing a lawsuit alleging Gov. Terry Branstad and aides illegally bullied him, he said Monday.  Godfrey has accepted an appointment as chairman and chief judge of the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board in Washington, which decides workers’ compensation claims filed by federal workers. He submitted a resignation letter to Branstad’s office Monday, saying he was proud that he fought off “unwarranted influence, intimidation and retaliation.”

AGC Joins Hiring Our Heroes Program as Part of Effort to Add 100,000 Veterans to Workforce in Five Years

The Associated General Contractors of America recently announced that it is joining the national Hiring Our Heroes program as part of the construction industry’s effort to add 100,000 veterans over the next five years. The new partnership will make it easier for construction contractors to find, recruit and hire veterans, association officials added.

“The only thing keeping many of our members from hiring vets is figuring out how to find them,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. “This new partnership will make it easier for construction firms to find, recruit and hire veterans.” 

Construction Industry Adds 6,000 Jobs in June as Sector's Unemployment Rate Declines to 8.2 Percent

Construction employers added 6,000 workers to payrolls in June as the industry's unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent, its lowest June level in six years, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned, however, that recent employment gains could be undermined when the federal government begins scaling back transportation investments in August.

"The construction industry continues to expand gradually and unevenly," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Despite recent job growth, construction employment is still more than 1.7 million jobs or 22 percent below its 2006 peak."

Many Contractors Facing Hiring Problems

A 2014 outlook survey conducted by AGC found two-thirds of contractors are experiencing difficulty filling key professional and craft positions, and they expect more difficulty in the coming years, reports Jim Young, director of Congressional relations at AGC.

“As the economy and construction industry rebounds, we are concerned about where future workers will come from,” stated Jim Young, Director of Congressional Relations for AGC. “Our contractors want to hire Americans first, but when they can’t, we want them to have another avenue to find a workforce.”