Low unemployment rate provides numerous opportunities

There’s a persistent strength in the United States labor market as unemployment is at a low 3.7 percent. With hiring up, this is great news for those seeking careers in construction. Companies in the construction industry keep adding jobs, increasing by 30,000 jobs in October 2018 and by 330,000 jobs over the past year.  

Building the future

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction’s October jobless rate dropped to 4.5 percent. Job increases were led by the specialty trade contractors sector, which added 21,300 positions during the month. Another 7,100 heavy and civil engineering construction jobs were added.

Experts predict growth going into 2019. The 2019 Dodge Construction Outlook report shows nonresidential building will stay at its current level, and nonbuilding construction, which includes highways, bridges and environmental public works, will increase 3 percent.

This is especially true in California where  Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) is expected to raise $5.2 billion annually, with $54 billion over the next decade going toward roads, freeways and bridges in communities across the state and creating employment for 650,000 people over the next 10 years.  

Even with such political division in the United States, President Trump reminds, “We have a lot of things in common on infrastructure.” If the proposal of $1 trillion for infrastructure becomes reality, careers in construction will be in high demand.  

Seeking skilled workers

“Contractors are raising pay faster than at any time since the recession to attract workers from other industries as well as new entrants, yet many firms report they continue to have difficulty filling positions,” said Ken Simonson, the Associated General Contractors of America’s chief economist. Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, added, “We need more public officials to understand that the path to a good, middle-class life doesn’t always include attending a four-year college and spending a lifetime behind a desk.”

In fact, as California invests in infrastructure with SB 1, there’s a huge demand for construction workers and apprentices, making for a solid middle-class career track  that is very attractive to people who aren’t seeking four-year degrees. Skilled tradespeople find it’s possible to have more than just a job, but a career in the trades with substantial pay and good job security.

Finding work in construction

Due to the high demand, more women are finding careers in construction.  High school students are also learning about great opportunities in the industry. The Southern California Partnership for Jobs created an award-winning video to showcase the union apprenticeship training program in the Los Angeles Unified School District, highlight career opportunities and the benefits of a position in engineering and construction.

Anyone interested in the construction industry can learn more about training and apprenticeship programs and take the first step toward a promising career in construction.