A December 2021 report from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) offered some good news for the construction industry: construction employment increased by 31,000 jobs between October and November 2021, with nonresidential construction firms adding workers for the third month in a row.
The report added that construction firms were likely to have added even more jobs if they could find more qualified workers to hire, with many firms reporting a growing number of unfilled positions.
“While we are seeing tremendous growth in jobs, we are experiencing an even greater need for manpower,” said Kevin Tighe, vice president of labor relations and field service at NECA. “We can no longer depend on a traveling workforce that moves from job to job. We have to develop and grow a local workforce. The construction industry in general, and the electrical trade specifically, provides a tremendous opportunity for our youth. It’s an opportunity that we continue to promote, and one that our educational system needs to prioritize.”
Construction employment in November totaled 7,533,000 jobs, increasing 31,000 since October. This is the highest seasonally adjusted jobs figure since March 2020. However, the report noted that industry employment still trails the pre-pandemic peak of 115,000 positions set in February 2020.
Nonresidential construction firms added 20,800 employees in November, following a pickup of 34,600 in October.
- Nonresidential building contractors added 5,900 employees.
- Specialty trade contractors gained 6,800 workers.
- Heavy and civil engineering construction firms added 8,100 workers.
Residential construction added 10,300 jobs in November. Residential building contractors (such as homebuilders and general contractors that concentrate on multifamily construction) added 4,100 workers during the month. Residential specialty trade contractors added 6,200. In addition, residential construction employment in November exceeded the February 2020 peak by 95,000 positions.
“It is heartening to see steady job growth across all construction segments following a long period during which only residential contractors were adding employees,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “But record job openings show the industry needs still more workers as more types of nonresidential projects get started.”
He added that the number of job openings in the industry reached an all-time high for the month of 333,000 in September, the latest month with data available.