Booming construction markets are cutting the industry’s unemployment rate and expanding companies’ worker head counts, but stubborn workforce gaps are still creating bidding and safety headaches for employers.
In its 2016 business and hiring outlook, released on Jan. 6, the Associated General Contractors reports that 71% of 1,500 survey respondents say they will increase employee numbers this year to meet improving private- and public-sector markets. Respondents were most optimistic about the retail, warehouse, health-care and office-construction segments in the private sector and education and public buildings in the government sector. The findings track with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ numbers, released on Jan. 8, that show construction unemployment continuing its year-over-year drop. It fell in December to 7.5% from the year-earlier 8.3%, as firms added 45,000 jobs even as winter slowdowns worsened the rate from November’s 6.2% figure.