AGC: Record-high job openings still plaguing construction

By |  May 23, 2022


Construction employment exceeded pre-pandemic levels in 32 states in April, according to an Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) analysis of federal employment data.

Association officials caution, however, that record-high construction job openings indicate many firms are having a hard time finding workers, putting future job gains at risk.

“Construction employment gains have stalled in many states in recent months as the pool of available workers has dried up,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “It will be hard to satisfy demand for private projects and infrastructure unless more workers are available to fill the record number of openings.”

Simonson notes that government data from the monthly Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey show there were 415,000 construction job openings at the end of March. That was the highest March total since the series began in 2001 and constituted a 20 percent jump in openings from one year earlier. Openings exceeded the 388,000 employees hired during that month, implying that construction firms would have added twice as many employees if they had been available, Simonson says.

From February 2020 – the month before the pandemic halted or canceled projects – to April 2022, construction employment increased in 32 states, declined in 17 states and the District of Columbia and was unchanged in Alaska.

Utah added the most construction jobs in that time (16,300 jobs, up 14.3 percent), followed by Florida (15,500 jobs, up 2.7 percent) and Tennessee (13,200 jobs, up 10 percent). Utah also had the largest percentage gain, followed by Montana (4,100 jobs, up 13.3 percent) and South Dakota (3,000 jobs, up 12.5 percent).

New York shed the most construction jobs since February 2020 (27,700 jobs, down 6.8 percent), followed by Pennsylvania (15,600 jobs, down 5.8 percent) and Texas (10,800 jobs, down 1.4 percent). The largest percentage losses were in New York, Kentucky (5,000 jobs, down 6.2 percent), and Pennsylvania.

Between March and April this year, 27 states and D.C. added construction jobs, 21 states lost jobs and employment in Alaska and Rhode Island remained unchanged.

Florida added the most construction jobs in the month (4,300 jobs, up 0.7 percent), followed by Texas (3,600 jobs, up 0.5 percent) and Ohio (3,300 jobs, up 1.4 percent). Delaware had the largest percentage gain (500 jobs, up 2.1 percent), followed by South Dakota (400 jobs, up 1.5 percent), Ohio and Montana (500 jobs, up 1.4 percent).

California lost the most construction jobs in April (13,200 jobs, down 1.4 percent), followed by North Carolina (5,900 jobs, down 2.4 percent) and New Jersey (2,600 jobs, down 1.6 percent). Arkansas had the largest percentage loss (1,500 jobs, down 2.7 percent), followed by North Carolina and Kentucky (1,600 jobs, down 2.1 percent).

AGC urges public officials to boost investments in career and technical education to help entice more people to pursue careers in construction. The organization says federal investment in programs focusing on careers like construction is only a fraction of the investment in traditional college preparation.

Says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO: “We need to let more young people know they can earn a good living and a lot of satisfaction by working in construction careers.”

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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

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