19,000 New Jobs Added in July 2018 Alone
The 2017-2018 year over year job number indicates that the construction industry is leading the way in new employment, according to the latest figures from the Associated General Contractors of America. 19,000 new construction jobs were added in July alone, with the total of new jobs added for the year setting a 10-year high at 303,000.
AGC officials analyzed recent government data and were quick to point out that it was likely that construction firms would have added even more positions if only they could have found the qualified candidates to hire.
Over the same period, construction industry unemployment hit an all-time low, down to 3.4%, a number indicating that the construction sector is essentially operating at full employment. AGC chief economist Ken Simonson pointed out that new construction jobs outpaced job gains in the economy as a whole at nearly three times the rate, with gains soaring by 4.4% over the past 12 months.
Liberated by the corporate tax cut to 21% and the retention of tax-free status for PABs (private-activity bond financing), the construction industry boom isn't likely to peak anytime soon, especially with the president's $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
Construction employment surpassed the previous 2008 high mark with 7,242,000 jobs tallied last July. That's nearly triple the 1.6% gain in total nonfarm payroll employment. This past July of 2018, 13,200 jobs were added in non-residential construction including heavy and civil engineering.
That brings the non-residential construction total to 168,400 jobs added during the past year, a 4.0 percent increase.
One Big Project Behind the Big Construction Hiring Numbers
Ambitious projects which have been on the drawing board for decades are finally coming to fruition, with both private and public sector demand on the rise. Tennessee's $6.5 billion Oak Ridge project to upgrade the Y-12 National Security Complex's Uranium Processing Facility is the state's largest building project ever.
After successfully hitting major project milestones, the Uranium Processing Facilities Project Director John Howanitz said in an interview at Knox News, "Now that we've received authorization to proceed, construction activity will increase dramatically and the skyline of Y-12 will truly begin changing in the coming months."
With $200 million spent so far, another $600 million in construction and procurement has been authorized to replace the 75-year old uranium processing facility which dates back to the Manhattan Project. With 150,000 cubic feet of concrete already poured, and two of the seven subproject phases complete, the project is adding 400 skilled craft and professional services personnel, and that's just the first wave of hiring.
With annual spending slated for $900 million per year until the facility's scheduled completion in 2025, hiring is expected to peak as 900 more skilled craft employees and 1,000 professional services personnel are added.
Recruiting Expertise is More Essential Than Ever in the Construction Boom
Considering the alternative, a construction bottom such as the one we weathered in 2011, keeping pace with the current construction boom is a fine problem. But it is a problem when experienced construction professionals are stretched far and wide in an industry which is essentially functioning at full employment capacity.
While efforts are underway to foster educational opportunities and encourage the choice of high-paying construction careers for young people, today's construction boom won't wait until the gap is filled. For decision-makers responsible for assembling qualified construction professional teams, recruiting expertise is essential for hitting project milestones.
At Resource Erectors, we connect the most successful companies in North America with the talented and qualified professionals they need. We specialize in recruiting skilled engineering, operations management, and technical professionals for the construction industry as well as mining, minerals processing, and manufacturing.
If you're a seasoned professional ready to make a move, or an employer building the dream team for your next project, Resource Erectors has the recruiting expertise to help you achieve your goals, so don't hesitate to contact us.