But construction is a notoriously fickle industry - and evidence of this surfaced in September when Michigan experienced among the steepest month-to-month drops in industry employment compared to other states. According to an Oct. 19 report issued by the Associated General Contractors, Michigan lost 2,100 jobs, or 1.2 percent of its workforce, between August and September 2018 - the highest loss of jobs in the country among the states.Happily, it wasn't a historically large drop, the fundamentals of the state and federal economy are still good, and perhaps time will show that Michigan's drop was just an aberration. Indeed, over the 12-month period between September 2017 and September 2018, Michigan enjoyed a strong gain of 11,200 construction jobs, a 6.8 percent increase, ranking us No. 15 in employment gains among the states.
A national look at employment figures released Nov. 2 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and analyzed by the AGC found U.S. construction employment increased by 30,000 jobs in October and by 330,000 jobs over the past year, topping 7.3 million for the first time since April 2008.
The unemployment rate for job seekers with construction experience in October was 3.6 percent, down from 4.5 percent in October 2017.
"Job gains remain strong and well balanced between residential and nonresidential construction," said Simonson. "Contractors are raising pay faster than at any time since the recession to attract workers from other industries as well as new entrants."
Hourly earnings in the construction industry averaged $30.21 in October, an increase of 3.9 percent from a year earlier—the steepest one-year rise since June 2009. The AGC reported that average hourly earnings in construction are now 10.7 percent higher than the average for all nonfarm private-sector jobs, which rose 3.1 percent in the past year, to $27.30. Factor in the nation's 2.3 percent inflation rate, and it is a significant drag on the benefit of the wage hikes.