Construction companies have been ratcheting pay higher to find workers.
Average hourly earnings for construction workers were $30.21 in October, the Labor Department reported Friday. That represented a 3.9% increase in wages compared to a year ago, the strongest yearly gain since mid-2009.
As the housing crisis unfolded, a million and a half residential construction workers were laid off. Industry groups have complained for years that labor is too hard to find, and say that’s holding back a more robust pace of home building.
Higher pay would go a long way to solving that problem, many economists have argued, and to some extent, industry actions over the past year or so have confirmed that idea.
The $30.21 average hourly wage for construction workers is higher than the $27.11 earned by employees in manufacturing.
Annual wage increases for construction workers have increased an average of 3.3% during 2018, double the wage increases enjoyed by factory employees.
In turn, that’s helped employers lure lots more workers: the construction industry added 330,000 jobs over the past 12 months.