Steel Markets

AGC: Construction Jobs Growing Despite Worker Shortage

Written by Sandy Williams

The construction industry added jobs in 34 states and D.C. between December 2018 and December 2019, and 29 states added construction jobs in December, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. Contractors say more jobs will be added to payrolls in 2020, but 81 percent of firms are having difficulty finding qualified workers to hire.

“Construction employment consistently expanded in at least two-thirds of the states throughout 2019, even though contractors reported difficulty in finding qualified workers all year long,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “As long as they are able to continue finding qualified workers, most firms expect to continue hiring this year.”

According to the AGC analysis, Texas added the most construction jobs in 2019 (55,900 jobs, 7.4 percent), followed by California (31,300 jobs, 3.6 percent) and Florida (25,500 jobs, 4.6 percent). Maine added the highest percentage of construction jobs (11.5 percent, 3,100 jobs) since last December, followed by New Mexico (10.8 percent, 5,100 jobs) and Utah (8.6 percent, 9,000 jobs). Construction employment reached a record high in Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. 

Sixteen states shed construction jobs in 2019. Ohio lost the largest number of construction jobs (-9,000 jobs, -4.0 percent). Other states with large job losses include Louisiana (-7,000 jobs, -4.8 percent) and Minnesota (-3,600 jobs, -2.8 percent). Wyoming lost the highest percentage of construction jobs during the past 12 months (-9.5 percent, -2,100 jobs). Other states with large percentage losses include West Virginia (-7.2 percent, -3,400 jobs) and Connecticut (-5.5 percent, -3,400 jobs). 

Texas added the most construction jobs between November and December (3,800 jobs, 0.5 percent), followed by Ohio (3,400 jobs, 1.6 percent), Florida (3,100 jobs, 0.5 percent), Arizona (1,600 jobs, 0.9 percent) and Iowa (1,500 jobs, 1.9 percent). Iowa added the highest percentage of construction jobs, followed by North Dakota (1.8 percent, 500 jobs) and Ohio. 

Construction employment decreased from November to December in 16 states and the District of Columbia and was unchanged in five other states. Nevada lost the largest number of construction jobs (-2,700 jobs, -2.6 percent), followed by West Virginia (-1,600 jobs, -3.5 percent) and Pennsylvania (-1,600 jobs, -0.6 percent). West Virginia also had the largest percentage decline for the month, followed by Nevada and Wyoming (-1.5 percent, -300 jobs).

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