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Construction Employment Declines

Construction employment declined for a second straight month in May, dropping by 15,000 jobs, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). (April employment, initially reported as showing an increase of 1,000 jobs, was revised downward to show a 5,000-job drop.)

But despite the monthly declines, industry employment is 3.4 percent higher than it was a year ago.

Association officials expressed concern that a shortage of experienced workers may undermine the sector’s potential growth.

“Although construction employment slipped in April and May, the industry has added workers in the past year at double the rate of the overall economy,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Average pay in construction is rising faster than in the rest of the private sector, and the number of unemployed construction workers was at the lowest May level in 16 years. These facts support what contractors tell us: they have plenty of work but are struggling to find qualified workers to hire.”

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