Construction employment grew in 250 out of 358 metro areas between April 2018 and 2019, declined in 53, and was unchanged in 55, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
“Demand for construction is steady or rising in most parts of the country, and many contractors are adding workers when they can find them,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “At the same time, many firms report they would have hired even more employees if only they could find enough qualified workers.”
The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona metro area added the most jobs during the past year (16,660 jobs, 15 percent). Other areas adding a large amount of jobs include Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (9,200 jobs, 6 percent) and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia (7,000 jobs, 6 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Monroe, Michigan (26 percent, 500 jobs) and St. Cloud, Minnesota (26 percent, 1,500 jobs).
The largest job losses between occured in Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C. (-2,600 jobs, -4 percent) followed by Baton Rouge, Louisiana (-1,800 jobs, -3 percent) and Hartford- West Hartford-East Hartford, Connecticut (-1,600 jobs, -8 percent). The largest percentage decrease took place in Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Mississippi (-13 percent, -1,200 jobs) and Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey (-13 percent, -800 jobs).
Association officials said that even though construction employment continues to expand in major parts of the country, workforce shortages remain problematic for many contractors. urged officials to boost investment in career education, and to enact immigration reform allowing more individuals with construction skills to legally enter the country.