Steel Products

Construction Jobs Up in August; Worker Shortage Continues

Written by Sandy Williams

Officials at the Associated General Contractors of America said that despite expansion at construction firms in August, many firms report having a hard time finding qualified workers to hire, particularly for craft positions.

“Construction firms in many parts of the country continue to expand to keep up with demand for their services,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Yet construction growth would likely have been even more robust if contractors could find more qualified construction workers to hire.”

AGC urges the administration to invest in training programs to help young people attain construction careers. Funding for the Perkins Act, a federal career and technical education program, would help add more jobs around the country.

Construction employment increased in 250 out of 358 metro areas between September 2016 and September 2017, declined in 56 and stagnated in 52, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the AGC. Association officials noted that continued strong demand for construction is placing new strains on an already tight construction labor market.

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Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., added the most construction jobs during the past year (16,200 jobs, 17 percent), followed by Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (10,100 jobs, 18 percent); Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. (9,100 jobs, 14 percent); Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. (7,800 jobs, 8 percent); and New York, N.Y. (7,000 jobs, 5 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in the Wenatchee, Wash., metro area (19 percent, 500 jobs), followed by Lake Charles, La. (18 percent; 4,000 jobs); Las Vegas; Cheyenne, Wyo. (17 percent, 600 jobs); Memphis, Tenn.-Miss.-Ark. (17 percent, 3,700 jobs); and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario.

The largest job losses from September 2016 to September 2017 were in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (-11,000 jobs, -5 percent), followed by Columbia, S.C. (-3,700 jobs, -22 percent); Kansas City, Mo. (-3,100 jobs, -11 percent); San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (-2,900 jobs, -6 percent); and Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla. (-2,800 jobs, -11 percent). The largest percentage decreases for the year were in Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn. (-23 percent, -1,100 jobs) followed by Columbia, Kansas City and Cape Coral-Fort Myers.

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