Strong growth for construction employment continued last month, with the U.S. Dept. of Labor reporting on July 5 that the construction sector added 27,000 jobs in June. The construction unemployment rate fell to 3.3%, another signal that the labor supply pressures of recent years are ongoing.

The June jobs total is well above the 20,000-per-month average monthly gain seen in the prior 12 months for the industry. Construction remains one of the standout industries for upticks in employment in the U.S., along with the health care, social assistance and government sectors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Overall, construction jobs outside the residential sector provided the biggest boost to the monthly job numbers, with the nonresidential subcategories and the heavy and civil engineering construction sector combining for 21,200 of the estimated 27,000 new positions.

By category, specialty trade contractors added 11,600 positions overall—the most of the three main categories—with nonresidential specialty trade firms contributing the greatest amount, 9,200 jobs. 

Building contractors added an estimated 8,800 jobs overall, with non-residential building contractors contributing 5,700 of those positions. The heavy and civil engineering construction category saw an overall gain of 6,300 jobs.

The continued demand for workers amid a hiring shortage is a continued source of stress for industry firms, noted Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. "Finding enough qualified workers remains a greater challenge for most firms than finding projects to work on." 

The industry unemployment rate's decline to 3.3%, one of the lowest ever recorded by BLS, was highlighted by AGC as well as the Associated Builders and Contractors as a sign that a labor shortage is constraining construction's further growth. "The industry would have added jobs at an even faster pace if not for ongoing labor shortages,” observed Anirban Basu, ABC's chief economist.