The nonresidential specialty trade contractors sector, which includes contract glaziers, saw another slight decline in employment in May, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The segment shed 6,300 jobs from April for a 0.3-percent dip, though its 2,450,600-worker total in May represents a 1.7-percent increase from May of 2016. The nonresidential building category, which also includes building exterior contractors, added 3,500 jobs for a 0.5-percent increase on a monthly basis and a 0.9-percent bump to 764,300 from the same time last year.

“Nonresidential specialty trade contractors collectively shed employment, which is consistent with the weak construction spending numbers released [last week],” Associated Builders and Contractors chief economist Anirban Basu said in his analysis. “Those statistics indicated ongoing softening in construction spending in both private and public segments.”

The residential specialty trades, which includes glass installers in single-family homes, increased employment by 0.3 percent for the month to 1,930,200, marking a 4.5-percent year-over-year jump.

According to the Associated General Contractors of America’s (AGC) analysis, the 6,881,000 job total, thanks to an 11,000-job increase in May, is the highest level since October 2008.

“Construction firms continued adding new jobs at a faster rate than the broader economy during the past year as demand for their services remains strong,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “Even so, they had to keep employees on the job for more hours because they could not find enough qualified people to hire.”

The overall construction jobs year-over-year growth rate nearly doubled the percentage rise in total nonfarm payroll employment, Simonson added. The sector’s unemployment rate in May was 5.3 percent, up slightly from 5.2 percent a year ago.

Simonson noted that average weekly hours in construction rose to 39.9, the highest May figure since the series began in 2006. Average hourly earnings in the industry jumped to $28.55, an increase of 2.2 percent from last year. According to AGC, construction pays nearly 9 percent more per hour than the average nonfarm private sector job in the U.S.

“With the construction unemployment rate remaining so low, one further hopes that more job seekers will be induced to seek employment in the construction trades,” added Basu. “Unfortunately, to date that has not happened at sufficient levels. That said, economists remain confident that the next two quarters will be associated with more robust growth, which could help to reinvigorate construction spending momentum.”