Construction jobs are key to a healthy labor market, says Paul Davidson, a reporter for USAToday.com. That’s because they provide the kind of middle-wage jobs that have dwindled in recent years and the prospect of stronger pay increases. “Contractors added 48,000 jobs in December, the most since last January, and 290,000 in 2014, a nine-year high,” explains Davidson. That helped push overall payroll growth to 252,000 last month, the Labor Department said Friday. According to Davidson’s post, the construction industry has recovered just 30 percent of the 2.2 million jobs it lost during the sub-prime mortgage crisis from 2006 to 2010.