The U.S. added 38,000 construction jobs in December and 280,000 jobs since December 2017, a 4 percent increase year-over-year, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America.

At 7.35 million jobs, it’s the highest construction employment level since March 2008.

“Demand for construction remains strong across most project types and locations,” AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson said in a statement. Job growth and pay increases in construction are also outpacing those in the overall economy, Simonson added, as average hourly pay for construction workers jumped 3.9 percent to $30.44, 10.8 percent higher than the average hourly pay for nonfarm private sector jobs.

The unemployment rate in the construction industry fell from 5.9 percent to 5.1 percent year-over-year. However, the labor shortage remains an obstacle, according to Simonson.

“Contractors continue to have difficulty finding qualified workers, with the number of unemployed workers who have construction experience at the lowest December level in 19 years,” Simonson said.