Constructor - July/August 2015 - (Page 47)

sIMonson sAYs Wages Work Their Way Higher as Workforce Worries Grow KEN SIMONSON AGC CHIEF ECONOMIST contrActors Are hIrIng AgAIn, in nearly all parts of the country and all segments of the industry. But they are having to raise pay more steeply than before, and they are having more trouble finding the workers they want. In April, contractors added 45,000 employees to their payrolls, the largest one-month increase since January 2014. Seasonally adjusted employment totaled 6,383,000, the highest level in more than six years. Until recently, there were plenty of jobseekers with construction experience - nearly 2 million in April 2010. But that number has declined steadily for the past five years. By this April, the number of people who were unemployed, looking for work and had last worked in construction © ISToCkPhoTo.Com | oLgaLIS @Constr uctor Ma g had fallen by two-thirds to 652,000, the lowest April total since 2001. Not surprisingly, contractors - particularly firms working on heavy industrial projects - have been raising pay in order to attract workers and keep the ones they have. Average hourly earnings for heavy and civil engineering construction employees jumped 5.1 percent from March 2014 to March 2015, the largest annual increase in seven years and nearly double the 2.9 percent rise of a year earlier. This pickup may reflect the competition from the oil and gas industry, which had been hiring workers for both drilling and "downstream" projects such as pipelines, petrochemical and power plants, and export terminals for liquefied natural gas. While the drilling has diminished with the drop in oil prices since last summer, downstream work is continuing at a torrid pace. The Census Bureau reported that spending on oil and gas pipeline projects soared 47 percent from the first quarter of 2014 to the first three months of 2015, while outlays for chemical manufacturing plants leaped 68 percent. Nonresidential building construction contractors also are experiencing escalating wages, albeit not as dramatically. During the second half of 2014, average hourly earnings for their employees rose at an annual fate of 3.0 to 4.4 percent, although the rate of increase slowed to 2.4 percent between March 2014 and March 2015 as the growth in nonresidential building spending cooled slightly. Nonresidential construction, along with multifamily building, appears poised to continue expanding for the remainder of 2015. That could intensify the search for qualified workers and bring about a further escalation of wages. The growing demand for construction services is also putting pressure on a relatively limited pool of available qualified construction workers. That new pressure is one reason why AGC of America crafted its Workforce Development Plan, which outlines a series of steps federal, state and local officials should take to support the establishment of more construction training and recruiting programs. Among the measures outlined in the plan are calls for comprehensive immigration reform, expanded federal funding for secondary-level career and technical education and the establishment of more construction-focused high school programs. AGC of America is also calling for changes to federal antitrust laws that will make it permissible for multiple construction firms to establish common construction training programs. As demand for construction services continues to grow, implementing the measures outlined in AGC's Workforce Development Plan should help improve the pool of available qualified workers.◆ J u l y / A u g u s t 2 0 1 5 | www.constructormagazine.com 47 http://www.bit.ly/1cSF5JJ http://www.bit.ly/1Bhpmdb http://www.ISToCkPhoTo.Com http://www.constructormagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Constructor - July/August 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
CEO’S LETTER
REBUILDING MOTOR CITY
THE REAL DETROIT
RAISING THE GRADE
FEDCON BRINGS CONTRACTORS AND AGENCY LEADERSHIP TOGETHER
HOOKED UP
2015 WILLIS CONSTRUCTION SAFETY EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS
PUTTING MOORE INTO SAFETY
SIMONSON SAYS
THE ROAD TO SAFETY
CONSTRUCTION SAFETY APPS SAVE WORKER LIVES
DEEP SPACE FINE
TIME TO ENGAGE
COORDINATION LEADS TO TRIUMPH
AGC IN ACTION
TREASURE TROVE
A P3 PRIMER
MEMBER AND CHAPTER NEWS
THREE MUST HAVES IN A FLEET MANAGEMENT SOLUTION
LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY NEWS
A LABOR OF LOVE
TECHNOLOGY TOOLBOX
BEYOND THESE PAGES
UPCOMING EVENTS
2015 REGIONAL RESOURCE GUIDE
INDEX TO ADVERTISERS
FINAL INSPECTION

Constructor - July/August 2015

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