Industry Employment Strong to Start 2019

The year kicked off with a bang in terms of glass-related construction and manufacturing employment, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The construction industry as a whole added jobs at a 4.7-percent rate from January 2018 to January 2019. The nonresidential specialty trades contractor sector, which includes glaziers and ironworkers, increased employment by 4.3 percent in January from the same time a year ago.

Residential specialty trades also saw strong year-over-year growth, adding jobs at a 4.3-percent rate.

January’s strong industry employment numbers are in line with expectations set by glazing contractors in the 2019 Glass and Glazing Industry Outlook. In that report, three quarters of contract glaziers say they plan to hire additional full-time employees this year.

Continued job growth in the industry is putting pressure on employers, due to the ever-expanding shortage of skilled labor being reported by firms. According to the Industry Outlook, the lack of qualified skilled workers was by far the largest concern for glazing contractors entering 2019.

Average hourly earnings in construction are up 3.5 percent from the first month of 2018 to the first month of 2019, the BLS reports.

On the manufacturing side, employment in nonmetallic mineral products, which includes production of flat glass, expanded by 2.1 percent year-over year. The fabricated metal products segment, which includes architectural metal systems, added jobs at a 2.7-percent rate in the same span.

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