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AGC: Construction jobs gains continue but more work ahead

By |  April 15, 2022
Photo: Ken Simonson

Simonson

Construction employment exceeded pre-pandemic levels in 32 states in March, according to a new analysis of federal employment data that the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) released.

AGC officials say the government should support more career opportunities to enable people to work in the industry.

“Contractors have been adding workers as fast as they can find them,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “But there just aren’t enough qualified workers available in many states, as shown by the record number of construction job openings at the [end of] February.”

Simonson notes that government data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey shows there were 364,000 job openings in construction at the end of February. That was the highest February total since the series began in 2001, AGC says, constituting a 52 percent jump in openings from a year earlier.

Inside the numbers

From February 2020 to March 2022, construction employment increased in 32 states, declined in 16 states and in the District of Columbia, and was unchanged in Nevada and Wyoming. According to AGC, Utah added the most construction jobs since February 2020 (up 15,000 jobs, 13.2 percent), followed by Tennessee (up 11,400 jobs, 8.6 percent) and Missouri (up 11,300 jobs, 8.8 percent). Utah had the largest percentage gain, followed by South Dakota (up 12.1 percent, 2,900 jobs) and Idaho (up 12 percent, 6,600 jobs).

New York shed the most construction jobs over 25 months (29,600 jobs, down 7.2 percent), followed by Texas (15,300 jobs, down 2 percent) and Pennsylvania (14,200 jobs, down 5.3 percent). The largest percentage losses were in New York, Pennsylvania and North Dakota (down 5 percent).

From February 2022 to March 2022, construction employment increased in 35 states, decreased in 14 states and the District of Columbia, and was unchanged in Idaho. California added the most construction jobs over the month (8,900 jobs, up 1 percent), followed by Texas (4,400 jobs, up 0.6 percent) and North Carolina (4,200 jobs, up 1.8 percent). South Dakota had the largest percentage gain (7.1 percent, up 1.800 jobs), followed by New Mexico (3.3 percent, up 1,700 jobs) and Connecticut (2.1 percent, up 1,300 jobs).

New York lost the most construction jobs between February and March (3,700 jobs, down 1 percent), followed by Colorado (2,300 jobs, down 1.2 percent) and Mississippi (1,600 jobs, down 3.3 percent). Mississippi had the largest percentage loss, followed by West Virginia (1.8 percent, down 600 jobs) and Wyoming (1.7 percent, down 400 jobs).

AGC officials say a lack of workers is delaying vitally needed projects. They urge officials in Washington to increase funding for career and technical education and allow more apprenticeship programs.

“Contractors are eager to hire more workers,” says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “The federal government must expand opportunities for appropriate education and training programs.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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