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AGC: Construction employment up in 75 percent of metro areas in March 2022

By |  April 21, 2022

AGC

Construction employment increased in 75 percent of U.S. metro areas from March 2021 to March 2022, according to an Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) analysis of government employment data.

Association officials noted that labor shortages likely kept many firms from adding even more workers during the past year.

“It is heartening to see construction employment come back from the depths of pandemic-induced job losses in most areas,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “But the skyrocketing number of job openings shows the industry needs far more workers than are available in many parts of the country.”

He adds the government’s Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey shows that there were 364,000 job openings in construction going into March – a 52 percent jump from a year earlier. Openings exceeded the 342,000 employees hired in February, implying that construction firms would have added twice as many employees had they been available, Simonson says.

Construction employment rose in 268 of 358 metro areas (75 percent) over the 12-month period.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, added the most construction jobs (9,300 jobs, up 4 percent), followed by St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois (6,300 jobs, up 10 percent); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California (6,000 jobs, up 4 percent); and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (5,300 jobs, up 4 percent). Cheyenne, Wyoming had the highest percentage gain (1,300 jobs, up 42 percent), followed by Bay City, Michigan (300 jobs, up 27 percent); Lake Charles, Louisiana (3,700 jobs, up 24 percent); and Gary, Indiana (2,600 jobs, up 18 percent).

Construction employment declined in 48 metro areas between March 2021 and March 2022 and was stagnant in 42 areas.

New York City lost the most jobs (3,400 jobs, down 2 percent), followed by Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida (2,400 jobs, down 3 percent) and Pittsburgh (1,900 jobs,  down 3 percent). The largest percentage declines were in Danville, Illinois (100 jobs, down 17 percent); Charleston, West Virginia (700 jobs, down 10 percent); San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California (800 jobs, down 8 percent); and Tuscaloosa, Alabama (500 jobs, down 8 percent).

Association officials say not enough young adults and high school students are exposed to job opportunities within the construction industry.

AGC says it has launched a range of efforts, including a digital advertising recruiting campaign, to reach more potential workers. The association also urges federal officials to boost funding for career and technical education programs to expose more future workers to construction career opportunities.

“Many people out there would love to make a good living while working with their hands and technology to build amazing projects,” says Stephen Sandherr AGC’s CEO. “But too few schools are willing to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy that the only path to success is college.”

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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