The average number of construction workers in New York City soared to 146,200 last year, marking the first time employment in the city has exceeded 140,000 in at least four decades, according to a new report.
Specialty trade workers, a group that includes plumbers and electricians, accounted for a majority — 93,900 — of the construction jobs created in 2016, according to a report by the New York Building Congress. Workers involved directly in building construction accounted for 43,300 jobs, while the heavy construction and civil engineering sector produced 8,900 jobs, according to the report.
Average annual wages for all construction workers jumped 5.4 percent to $80,200, the report found. The heavy construction and civil engineering workers were the highest paid with an average salary of $116,800. That was a slight decrease from 2015’s $119,200, though the report notes that the drop may be due to a decrease in overtime.
“Like the rest of the job market, construction industry wages finally seem to be catching up to job growth after lagging behind for most of the economic recovery,” Building Congress president Carlo Scissura said in a statement. “While this is great news for individual workers and their families, it remains to be seen what, if any, effect rising wages will have on the overall demand for construction services in New York City.”
Workers involved in building construction saw a 9.2 percent year-over-year increase with an average wage of $80,100 in 2016. Specialty trade contractors brought in an average of $76,900 last year, up from $73,500 in 2015.
A separate report, released by Turner & Townsend in May, showed that the average cost of building in the city was $354 per square foot last year, highest in the world. The high cost, according to the report, could be primarily attributed to the labor and materials.