Steel Markets

Construction Employment Expands in October

Written by Sandy Williams

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between October 2018 and October 2019, while construction employment increased in 28 states from September to October, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. 

“Construction employment continues to experience robust growth in most parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Many firms appear to be overcoming the challenge of low unemployment rates and strong demand for labor by increasing compensation levels and investing more in training people with relatively little experience in construction.”

Texas and Nevada saw the biggest number and percent of annual job gains, while Louisiana had the biggest losses. One month gains were largest in Florida, Montana, Rhode Island and Vermont, while New York and Alaska experienced the worst declines, said AGC.

Out of 358 metro areas, construction employment grew in 231, or 65 percent, of metro regions between October 2018 and October 2019, declined in 69 and was unchanged in 58.

“Employers in most areas remain busy and eager to hire workers, but they struggle to find qualified employees in many metros,” said Simonson. “The fact that job openings in construction set record highs each month suggests that more metros would post gains in construction employment if eligible workers were available.”

The Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, metro area added the most construction jobs during the past year (14,300 jobs, 10 percent). Other metro areas adding a large number of construction jobs during the past 12 months include: Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (9,800 jobs, 8 percent); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (9,700 jobs, 6 percent) and Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (8,000 jobs, 12 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Omaha-Council Bluffs, Neb.-Iowa (20 percent, 5,900 jobs), followed by Auburn-Opelika, Ala. (15 percent, 400 jobs) and Bend-Redmond, Ore. (14 percent, 1,000 jobs). Construction employment reached a new October high in 76 metro areas and a new October low in two areas.

The largest number of job losses between October 2018 and October 2019 occurred in New York City (-6,200 jobs, -4 percent), followed by Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. (-4,700 jobs, -3 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-3,100 jobs -3 percent) and Baton Rouge, La. (-2,500 jobs, -4 percent). The largest percentage decrease took place in Fairbanks, Alaska (-13 percent, -400 jobs), followed by Watertown-Fort Drum, N.Y. (-10 percent, -200 jobs); Longview, Texas (-10 percent, -1,600 jobs) and Wichita Falls, Texas (-10 percent, -300 jobs).


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