Construction Industry Employment Hits Five-Year High as Sector Adds 20,000 Jobs in August

Construction industry employment reached a five-year high in August as the sector added 20,000 jobs and its unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest rate for August in seven years, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned, however, that the latest figures reinforce survey results the association recently released showing many contractors are having a tough time finding enough qualified workers.

"Construction employment growth has been accelerating and is broad-based," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "The increase in the past 12 months was the largest since 2006 and was spread among residential, nonresidential building and heavy construction."

Construction Employment Increases in 223 Metro Areas Between July 2013 & 2014

Construction employment expanded in 223 metro areas, declined in 72 and was stagnant in 44 between July 2013 and July 2014, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. As employment grows, 25 percent of firms report labor shortages are forcing them to turn down work according to a new survey conducted by SmartBrief, an industry leader in curated business news and custom content, in partnership with the association.

"Many construction firms looking to expand their payrolls are finding a surprisingly tight labor market," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "These expanding labor shortages threaten to impact construction schedules as firms struggle to find enough qualified workers."

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.”