Construction Hiring Had Volatile Year in 2013

Joe Weinlick
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For construction professionals, the number of open construction jobs is an important indicator of industry strength. When companies experience a workload increase, they often need to hire extra people to meet the demand. In 2013, construction hiring varied dramatically, making it difficult to predict future growth.

In recent years, the construction industry has struggled to come back from the crash of the housing market. During 2013, construction workers saw periodic employment spikes and dips, but in March 2013, CNN reported that construction employment levels were on the rise. During the first three months of the year, the industry seemed to be on a surge, adding thousands of jobs. In February alone, the industry added 48,000 construction jobs.

The beginning of 2013 brought with it a number of other indicators that instilled confidence among builders. Home prices were on the rise—as were home sales. Foreclosure rates were down and mortgage rates were low, which meant that more people could buy or build new houses. In January of 2013, people had filed for more building permits than in any month since 2008. So numerous were construction jobs in early 2013, in fact, that some builders began to worry about finding enough qualified workers to fill them.

By April of 2013, however, the number of available construction jobs began to decline again. Though the industry did not lose all of its progress, hiring continued to slow for several months. The number of single-family home projects fell steadily into July, negatively impacting the number of available jobs. Private construction spending also dropped slightly. Around August, single-family home starts and private construction spending began to rise. The industry picked up again, gaining traction and adding construction jobs in November 2013.

Near the end of the year, the construction industry once again took a hit. According to a recent news release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry lost 22,000 jobs in December 2013. The loss was partially due to the "polar vortex" that hit the country, bringing with it remarkably low temperatures and stopping construction completely in parts of the Northeast and Midwest. As a result, builders and industry workers ended the year on a note of uncertainty about what 2014 would bring. Fortunately for construction workers, the industry employment numbers from January 2014 seem to indicate that construction companies are experiencing growth. During the first month of the year, the industry added 48,000 jobs.

For construction professionals, the volatility of hiring in 2013 makes it difficult to forecast the possibilities for the year to come. Whether you are an experienced professional or you are new to the industry, staying informed about the changes in construction jobs can help you spot trends and identify the best times to seek new employment.


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