71% of construction firms expect to hire in 2016

Seventy-one percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2016 as contractors expect a range of public and private markets to grow, according to survey results released by the Associated General Contractors of America and Sage Construction and Real Estate. The survey, conducted as part of The Challenges Facing a Growing Industry: The 2016 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, indicates that contractors foresee a positive year despite tight labor conditions, regulatory burdens and IT security challenges.

“The construction industry will continue to recover in 2016 as many firms add to their headcount amid growing demand in a range of private and public sector markets,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The industry also faces a number of challenges that have the potential to dampen, and possibly even undermine, the sector’s recovery.”

Association officials noted that 71 percent of firms say they will increase their headcount in 2016.  In most cases, however, that hiring will only lead to modest increases in the overall size of firms.  Sixty-three percent of firms report their planned hiring will increase total headcount between 1 and 25 percent while 8 percent report they will expand their headcount by more than 25 percent this year.

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Construction employment at highest level since January 2009

Construction firms added 45,000 workers in December as the industry’s unemployment rate declined to 7.5 percent from 8.3 a year ago, according to an analysis by the AGCA. Association officials noted that the robust job gains come as a new industry outlook shows most firms expect to expand their headcount in 2016 amid growing private and public sector demand.

“Based on what most contractors have reported, the robust hiring the industry has experienced during the past few months should continue through 2016,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “While contractors continue to be worried about labor shortages, regulatory burdens and health care costs, most expect growing demand for many types of construction will allow them to expand this year.”

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