Last month's gain of 26,000 jobs in the construction sector means about 53,000 jobs have been added by contractors this year -- compared to more than 2 million lost during the recession. "With private-sector demand inching back up, the construction industry is finally on the brink of recovery from years of hardship and job losses," says Stephen Sandherr, CEO of AGC. In fact, because commercial and residential inventories have been reduced, a "rebound is almost inevitable," says Michael Montgomery, an economist at IHS Global Solutions, who thinks the construction sector could add about 200,000 jobs next year.

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