The construction industry added 11,000 jobs last month, sending its employment level to a 50-month high, officials with the Associated General Contractors of America said.

Construction’s unemployment rate fell to 9 percent as the industry marked its fifth straight month of job gains.

“After some very dramatic declines and years of sluggish growth, the construction industry is slowly adding jobs,” said Ken Simonson, the AGC's chief economist. “The federal government shutdown did not appear to have undermined construction job growth in the short term probably because it did not significantly impact projects that were already under way.”

Construction employment in October totaled 5.8 million — 185,000 more jobs than a year earlier. Some firms say they are having trouble finding qualified workers, the association added.

“While we have a long way to go before construction employment hits pre-recession levels, we need to take steps now to keep up with growing demand,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. “The last thing we want is for the lack of qualified workers to undermine the sector’s recovery.”