By Lital Shair Nada, market research associate, ARTBA

A decade after the start of the Great Recession, annualized 2017 highway, street and bridge sector employment remained 5.7 percent below 2007 levels, despite four consecutive years of gains. At the same time, average hourly wages have surpassed pre-recession levels, increasing almost every year since 2007.

Highway and bridge contractors added 5,400 workers to their payrolls in 2017 compared to 2016, to 292,300, a 1.7 percent annual increase, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Highway, street and bridge employees worked more hours in 2017 compared to last year and 2007. Their earnings have increased by an average of 3 percent annually for the past five years, resulting in rising hourly wages.

Average annual hourly wages for highway, street, and bridge construction employees rose 1 percent in 2017, to $27.27, compared to 2016, and by 27 percent compared to 2007 levels.

Construction employment follows a similar trend; annual employment is up 3 percent compared to last year, but is still 9 percent below 2007 pre-recession levels. Average annual hourly wages in the construction sector were $26.74 last year.

View ARTBA’s Labor Report.