Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

SMACNA Press Releases

Specialty Construction Employment Grew in January

Feb 08, 2017

Construction Industry Overall Saw Measured Gains

 Washington, DC – Feb. 3, 2017 – The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released January’s national employment data, which revealed strong employment numbers in the construction and particularly the specialty construction industries. The national unemployment rate remains low, at 4.8%. Construction employment continued to grow, posting an increase of 36,000 jobs in January, while specialty trade contractor jobs rose by 11,000.

“The Construction Employers of America is encouraged by the strong job gains among the specialty construction trades,” said Jack Jacobson, spokesperson for CEA. “Specialty union contractors are investing in domestic workforce training and apprenticeship programs to ensure our industry is prepared when employment growth occurs in specialty construction.”

Over the last 12 months, the construction industry added 170,000 jobs, a significant increase after a prolonged slump following the 2008 recession. The more unionized, highly skilled specialty trade contractors continued to dominate construction employment, representing nearly 64% of the construction industry totaling some 4.3 million jobs. Employment among specialty trade contractors was up 3% over January 2016.

“The job growth in January, coupled with a major national infrastructure investment plan under consideration by Congress and the Trump Administration, make us optimistic that additional growth will occur in the specialty trade construction industry over the coming years,” continued Jacobson. “We urge Congress and the Administration seize the bipartisan opportunity across the country to invest in infrastructure and rebuild America.”

CEA’s seven employer associations include the Finishing Contractors Association International, International Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, Mechanical Contractors Association of America, National Electrical Contractors Association, Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association, Signatory Wall and Ceiling Contractors Alliance, and The Association of Union Constructors. Our impact on the American economy is significant. We represent over 15,000 employers and 1.4 million employees nationwide. More information can be found at