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AGC: Metro Areas See Construction Jobs Boost in October

Written by David Schollaert

Nearly three-quarters of US metro areas added construction jobs year-over-year (YoY) through October, according to Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) figures. Despite the employment boost, job vacancies outpaced hiring as construction firms struggled to find enough qualified workers to hire, the report said.

construction2Construction employment increased in 268, or 75%, of 358 metro areas between October 2021 and October 2022, but there were still 412,000 job openings in construction at the end of September, exceeding the 348,000 total hires during the month.

“While three out of four metros added construction jobs in the past year, gains would have been even more widespread if contractors could find enough qualified workers,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “Job openings at the end of September topped the number of construction employees hired all month, implying that contractors wanted to hire more than twice as many workers as they were able to find.”

The industry’s unemployment rate was only 4.1%, indicating there were few individuals with construction experience available to hire, Simonson added.

The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas area added the most construction jobs over the period: 26,000 more jobs, a 12% increase YoY. It was followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (+14,300 jobs, +10%); Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (+11,000 jobs, +10%); and Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. (+8,700 jobs, +8%).

Provo-Orem, Utah, had the largest percentage gain, up 21% over the same period, or 6,100 more jobs. It was followed by Danville, Ill. (+17%, or +100 jobs); Kansas City, Mo. (+16%, or +5,000 jobs); and Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (+15%, or +2,500 jobs).

Construction employment declined YoY through October in 47 metro areas and was unchanged in 43 others. The largest job loss occurred in Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla., with 6,800 fewer jobs, a YoY drop of 8%. It was followed by Baton Rouge, La. (-5,000 jobs, or -11%); Richmond, Va. (-2,800 jobs, or -7%); and San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas (-2,800 jobs, or -5%).

The largest percentage decline was in Baton Rouge, followed by Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford; Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, N.J. (-7%, or 2,200 fewer jobs); and Richmond, Va.

AGC has urged Congress and the White House to “work together to address construction labor shortages that threaten to undermine new economic activity and infrastructure upgrades,” adding that measures such as work visas for skilled laborers would provide short-term relief, while investments in construction training and education programs would “rebuild the domestic pipeline for workers.”

“Instead of urging every student to attend college, amass debt and seek loan relief, public officials should show future workers there are multiple paths to success, including in construction,” said Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “It is time to start investing in the kind of workforce training and education that will allow more Americans to pursue high-paying construction careers.”

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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