What the January Jobs Numbers Can Tell Us About Skilled Trades Going Into 2020

by Mischa Fisher, Chief Economist | February 2020

January was a banner month for job creation, our third best month in the last five years, but the overall broad performance of construction over the last decade is an important trend. It continues to grow at a faster pace than the rest of the economy, with wages that are still significantly higher on average.

January was by itself a considerably strong month for creating new employment, with 225,000 new jobs created, with 44,000 just in the construction industry and specialty trade contractors split relatively evenly between residential (18,000) and nonresidential (17,000).

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

This impressive growth in construction and specialty trade contractors highlights an important decade-long trend in the competitiveness of the trades and construction as a career path.

In the last 10 years, the growth in construction jobs has virtually doubled that of the rest of the economy; growing around 36% since January of 2010 relative to overall job growth of about 18%.

Just as importantly, wages also remain significantly higher, with average non-supervisory wages in construction in January 2020 coming in at nearly $29, and average wages for the rest of the economy coming in at around $23.