Construction employment jumped in March as the industry added a robust 39,000 jobs during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The figure marked construction’s 12th consecutive monthly increase.

Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) officials said difficulties filling positions are making it more more challenging for contractors to take on new projects and finish existing ones on schedule.

The latest BLS report on the nation’s employment, issued April 5, showed increases in all construction segments, paced by nonresidential specialty trade contractors, which gained 16,300 jobs.

Buildings jobs were up by 7,800 and heavy and civil engineering jobs rose by 6,000.

BLS noted that the 39,000 jobs represented about twice the average monthly gain of 19,000 for the previous 12 months.

In another upbeat metric, construction also added  270,000 jobs in the 12 months ending in March, an increase of 3.4%.

Across-the-Board Gains

“All types of construction firms were hiring in March,” Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist, said in a statement.

AGC said construction’s new jobs in March represented the industry's largest monthly upturn since January 2023. But Simonson added that “the record number of construction job openings at the end of February indicates contractors would have hired even more workers if they were available to keep pace with demand.”

He was referring to a separate BLS report, released April 2, that showed construction job openings climbed to 441,000 as of the end of February, from 409,000 a year earlier.

BLS also reported that the average hourly earnings of construction production and nonsupervisory employees climbed 4.9% in March compared with the year-earlier level.

Jobless Rates Dip

In another bright signal, construction’s March jobless rate declined to 5.4%, from February’s 7%. It also was down from the year-earlier rate of 5.6%. The BLS jobs figures are adjusted for seasonal differences; the bureau's unemployment rate statistics are not seasonally adjusted.

“Structural transformations in the economy, including replenished domestic supply chains, expanded data center demand and augmented infrastructure, are making it difficult for many project owners to wait for lower construction delivery costs," Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors' chief economist, said in a statement.


Overall, the U.S. economy gained a hefty 303,000 jobs in March and its unemployment rate edged down to 3.8%, from February's 3.9%.

Basu said that the new BLS release “was a blockbuster jobs report and indicates that recession is not arriving anytime soon.”

But on the other hand, he said, "Those in search of lower inflation and interest rates will not be comforted by this release."