Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

By Lital Shair Nada, market research associate, ARTBA

Highway and bridge contractors added 2,500 workers to their payroll in January 2018 compared to January 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 1 percent year-over-year increase was not as strong as gains in the general construction industry, where employment rose by 3.5 percent over the same period.

The latest federal data was released the same week as U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao continued to promote the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan on Capital Hall, and the president announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum. ARTBA warned that if the tariffs lead to price increases, there will be adverse effects on the transportation construction industry’s ability to deliver needed projects. While project and equipment costs are likely to suffer first, this in turn could tamp down hiring, or lead to layoffs.

Employees in the highway, street and bridge construction industry are earning more per hour than they did last year. Average hourly wages rose by 5 percent in January 2018 compared to January 2017. On average, these employees are earning $26.23 per hour. As more workers come on board, the average employee is working 38 hours per week compared to 41 hours per week last year.

View ARTBA’s Transportation Construction Industry Employment report.