That’s for good reason. Last year was a dynamite period for construction as the industry broke records for both employment and unemployment levels, notching an all-time low unemployment rate and breaking a 10-year high in August with a total yearly employment growth of 303,000 jobs.
Those are great numbers. But what can we expect for the rest of this year?
The 2019 Sage Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Survey, a joint project of AGC and Sage Construction and Real Estate, could shed some light on that. The annual report was released in January and makes a deep dive into the data that shapes our industry and helps firms make high-level staffing decisions. True to form, this year’s iteration is full of key information.
The broad strokes of the document should come as no surprise to those who have been following trends in both general and construction employment. A major point here is that 79 percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2019. However, as an almost equal percentage are “worried about their ability to locate and hire qualified workers,” a phenomenon that has hit all manner of industries as the United States adapts to a tight national labor market.
These trends are definitely found here in Washington too. Though slightly fewer firms planned to expand payroll — 73 percent, compared to the national statistic — AGC found that 75 percent of firms are already having a tough time filling open positions. More than 50 percent of the surveyed firms believed they would face the same or greater level of difficulty in hiring in the coming year.
Hiring is truly the lifeblood of a healthy industry, which is why it’s vital that we continue to build opportunities to bring more people into our industry. AGC of Washington has solutions for firms of all sizes looking to build a great workforce to last — get in touch with us to see how your membership can accomplish that.