Industry Employment Still on the Up

Construction employment numbers related to the glass and glazing industry were positive in September, according to recently released data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

The nonresidential specialty trade contractors and nonresidential building categories—which include glaziers, iron workers and building exterior contractors—saw job increases on a monthly and year-over year basis.

Nonresidential specialty trade contractors increased employment by 0.3 percent from August and 2 percent from September 2016. Nonresidential building added jobs at a .6-percent clip for the month and a 3-percent rate for the year.

The national construction industry as a whole saw a slight increase in employment but was slowed by a decrease in jobs on the residential side.

Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu said in his analysis that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma may have impacted the September jobs numbers.

“The storms may also help explain the significant growth in employment among nonresidential specialty trade contractors, who would be among the first to support rebuilding efforts,” said Basu. “These are the people who courageously fix roofs, deal with broken glass and begin the process of helping property owners and businesses restart their enterprises. Conversely, the addition of 11,700 net new jobs in nonresidential construction in September may simply be a reflection of the ongoing increase in demand for human capital that has been observed in recent months.”

According to analysis by Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employment is at its highest level since October 2008. The industry unemployment rate sits at 4.7 percent.

“Construction firms added employees over the past year at a much higher rate than the public and private sectors as a whole, and contractors have been boosting pay to attract more workers,” he said. “But with unemployment so low overall and in construction, many contractors are having trouble filling a variety of hourly craft and salaried openings.”

According to AGC, average hourly earnings in the industry increased to $29.19, 3-percent jump from a year earlier. Simonson said construction pays nearly 10 percent more per hour than the average nonfarm private-sector job in the U.S.

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