Construction sees biggest wage hike in 40 years

By Catrin JonesMarch 09, 2022

Graph of construction wages over recent years The industry average of $31.62 per hour for production and nonsupervisory employees exceeded the private sector average by 17%

Construction professionals currently face many unprecedented challenges, but on a bright note, hourly pay for contractors rose at the steepest pace in nearly 40 years over the past 12 months.

According to an analysis by Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) of government data, average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 6% from February 2021 to February 2022. The industry average of $31.62 per hour for such workers exceeded the private sector average by 17%.

“All segments of construction added workers in February,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “However, filling positions remains a struggle, as pay is rising even faster in other sectors.”

The AGC is urging Washington officials to boost funding for career and technical education. This will support a wider range of apprenticeship and training opportunities as well as enable more workers to pursue high-paying construction careers.

Competition for workers has intensified as other industries offer working conditions that are not possible in construction, such as flexible hours or work from home. The industry is seeing a decline in the number of unemployed jobseekers with construction experience – shrinking by 26% over the past year.

“Construction firms are doing all they can to add employees and pay them well but there are not likely to be enough workers to meet demand unless officials in Washington act now to prepare more job seekers for these opportunities,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of AGC.

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