Department of Labor data on change of employment by sector from 2014 to 2015.

While construction spending rose to its highest level since 2007, employment is still 14% below its pre-recession peak. Wall Street Journal staffer Jeffrey Sparshott reports on the dismaying trickle of new apprentices. Officials at unions like North America's Building Trade Union say that they simply cannot recruit for jobs that do not exist.

Factors such as payment also appear to be a reason for the suppressed stream of new apprentices. While many laborers left the industry during the recession, and contractors are looking for more workers today, the cost to hiring contractors keeps going up. Sparshot writes:

Contractors want more workers. But would-be workers want a lot more pay before signing up for physical labor. Industrywide, construction pay for production and nonsupervisory workers was up 4.4% from a year earlier in January, well above the national average of 2.5% for all sectors, according to the Labor Department.

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