A 12-month Review

TheBureau of Labor Statisticsreported that over the last 12-month span construction employment rose 1.4% to 7.7million, with nonresidential categories adding 185,000 jobs (4.4%), while the residential categories lost 84,000 (-2.5%).

Average hourly earnings in construction rose to $20.51 per hour, seasonally adjusted, 20% higher than the all-private sector average for production or nonsupervisory workers. Part of the increase represents a shift from lower-paid homebuilding and remodeling jobs to higher-skilled nonresidential crafts.

Construction spending totaled a record $1.198 trillion in 2006, up 4.8% from 2005, according to the Census Bureau.

For the year, private residential spending fell 1.7%; private nonresidential surged 16%; and public spending increased 10%.