Steel Markets

AGC: February Construction Jobs Exceed Pre-Pandemic Peak in Most Metro Areas

Written by David Schollaert

Construction employment exceeded pre-pandemic levels in nearly 60% of US metro areas through February, according Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) figures. AGC also said it is getting harder to find workers and urged officials to invest more in career training and education programs for the construction sector.

construction2“The rebound in construction employment in most metros shows there is robust demand for infrastructure and nonresidential buildings, as well as housing,” AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said. “But contractors in many areas say they would hire even more workers if there were enough qualified candidates.”

There were 364,000 job openings in construction at the end of February – the highest February total since 2021, when the government first compiled the data. That figure exceeded February’s 342,000 construction hires and indicates that contractors only hired for about half of the open positions they sought to fill, Simonson noted.

Construction employment rose in 209, or 58%, of 358 metro areas over the 24-month period. Salt Lake City added the most construction jobs: 5,100 new workers or up 11% over that period. It was followed by Jacksonville, Fla., (+4,800 jobs, 10%); the Nashville, Tenn., metro area (+4,000 jobs, 8%); and Boise City, Idaho (3,800 jobs, 14%). Walla Walla, Wash,. had the highest percentage gain at 36%, or 400 total jobs, over the two-year period. It was followed by Decatur, Ill. (32%, 900 jobs); Lawrence-Methuen Town/Salem, Mass./N.H., (24%, 800 jobs); and Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz. (23%, 800 jobs).

February construction employment declined in 109 metro areas from February 2020 and was stagnant in 40 areas. New York City lost the most jobs, down -25,500, or -16%. It was followed by Houston metro area (-23,400 jobs, -10%) and Baton Rouge, La. (-6,800 jobs, -14%). The largest percentage declines were in Odessa, Texas, down -27%, or 5,500 fewer jobs, followed by Greeley, Colo. (-24%, -4,700 jobs); and Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (-22%, -4,700 jobs).

AGC also urged public officials to support recruiting and retention efforts by boosting investments in career and technical education programs focused on construction.

“Career and technical education teach essential skills and exposes a broader range of people to the many career opportunities available in construction,” AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr said. “Helping encourage more people to pursue high-paying construction careers will keep America building and contribute to broader economic growth.”

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

Read more from David Schollaert

Latest in Steel Markets