The construction sector’s unemployment rate fell to 3.5% in July as construction firms added 32,000 jobs, according to an analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

However, officials from the AGC state that job gains would have been better had there been a deeper pool of workers to hire from.

“Construction firms are doing their best to add new workers to keep pace with strong demand for construction,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “Despite the month’s big gains, the industry’s job gains would have been even higher if there were more people available to hire.”

The unemployment rate among jobseekers with construction experience fell from 6.1% in July 2021 to 3.5% in July 2022, adds Sandherr. While the number of unemployed construction workers decline, job openings in construction surged. There were 330,000 job openings in construction at the end of June, which is the second highest number of job openings for the month in the 22-year history of the construction industry job opening series.

Per the AGC, total construction employment moved up to 7,706,000 in July as both residential and nonresidential construction firms added jobs for the month. Nonresidential firms added 18,300 employees including 4,900 at general building contractors, 10,300 at nonresidential specialty trade contractors and 3,100 at heavy and civil engineering construction firms. Employment in residential construction (homebuilders, multifamily general contractors and residential specialty trade contractors) increased by 14,100 between June and July.

Compared to July 2021, the construction industry has added 311,000 jobs, an increase of 4.2%. The nonresidential sector added 190,800 of those yearly job gains, an increase of 4.4%. Meanwhile, residential construction firms added 120,800 jobs between July 2021 and July 2022, an increase of 4%.