Construction employment increased in 180 out of 358 metro areas, was unchanged in 46 and declined in 132 between October 2014 and October 2015, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
AGC officials attributed the fact that over half of the nation’s metro areas added construction jobs to growing demand for construction but cautioned that labor shortages could be impeding employment growth in parts of the country.
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (+9,800 jobs, +13 percent) added the most construction jobs during the past year. Other metro areas adding a large number of construction jobs include Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (+9,400 jobs, +8 percent), Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (+9,400 jobs, +10 percent), and Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (+8,400 jobs, +19 percent).
The largest percentage gains occurred in Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio (+56 percent, +900 jobs); Wenatchee, Wash. (+21 percent, +500 jobs); Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y. (+19 percent, +4,400 jobs) and Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise.
The largest job losses from October 2014 to October 2015 were in Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (-6,000 jobs, -8 percent), followed by Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, N.J. (-2,200 jobs, -7 percent); Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla. (-2,100 jobs, -5 percent), and Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wisc. (-1,700 jobs, -2 percent). The largest percentage decline for the past year was in Watertown-Fort Drum, N.Y. (-19 percent, -400 jobs), followed by Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. (-17 percent, -1,500 jobs), Bloomington, Ind. (-15 percent, -400 jobs) Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, Ky. (-15 percent, -300 jobs) and Terre Haute, Ind. (-15 percent, -700 jobs).
AGC officials said it was likely more metro areas would have experienced increases in construction employment if it were easier for firms to find qualified workers. Yet few communities offer the kind of career and technical education programs, especially for high school students, which were once common throughout most of the country.