The construction industry added 30,000 jobs in December to finish the year on a strong note. Tenacious economic optimism has led to strong job gains and construction spending, hinting that inventory could see relief earlier than expected in 2018.
- Construction added 35% more jobs - 210,000 in total - in 2017
- Construction spending exceeded predictions in November, rising to $1.25 trillion
- Robust economic growth is fueling increased optimism in construction industry
Strong job gains and increased construction spending point towards a healthy construction industry in 2018. In December, construction added 30,000 jobs despite frigid weather nationwide, and gains will continue as long as the current economic optimism upholds.
“This optimism is likely based on current economic conditions, an increasingly business-friendly regulatory environment and expectations the Trump administration will boost infrastructure investments,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s CEO.
Construction spending also ended last year on a strong note, exceeding its November projection and rising to a record $1.257, according to the Commerce Department. The growth launched spending upwards of 2.4% year-over-year, with all sectors of real estate construction boasting strong improvement.
Construction firms also plan on hiring more workers and increasing payrolls in 2018. Contractors are especially optimistic the office market, according to a survey from the Associated Contractors of America. Respondents’ sentiment towards construction for transportation, retail, warehouse, and lodging was also positive. The multifamily apartment sector garnered the least optimism among contractors.
In spite of positive signs, labor shortages still plague the construction industry. The National Association of Realtors is already imploring Congress to address the issue with a new policy that could ease the worker shortage.
“There needs to be a serious consideration in allowing temporary work visas until American trade schools can adequately crank out much needed, domestic skilled construction workers,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.