Construction employment increased in three-fourths of U.S. metro areas between March 2021 and March 2022, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new government employment data. Association officials noted that labor shortages likely kept many firms from adding even more workers during the past year.
“It is heartening to see construction employment come back from the depths of pandemic-induced job losses in most areas,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But the skyrocketing number of job openings shows the industry needs far more workers than are available in many parts of the country.”
The government’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows that there were 364,000 job openings in construction going into March – a 52 percent jump from a year earlier, Simonson noted. Openings exceeded the 342,000 employees hired in February, implying that construction firms would have added twice as many employees if they had been available, the economist asserted.
Construction employment rose in 268 or 75 percent of 358 metro areas over the 12-month period. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas added the most construction jobs (9,300 jobs, 4 percent), followed by St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois (6,300 jobs, 10 percent); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California (6,000 jobs, 4 percent); and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (5,300 jobs, 4 percent). Cheyenne, Wyoming had the highest percentage gain (42 percent, 1,300 jobs), followed by Bay City, Michigan (27 percent, 300 jobs); Lake Charles, Louisiana (24 percent, 3,700 jobs); and Gary, Indiana (18 percent, 2,600 jobs).
Construction employment declined in 48 metro areas from March 2021 and was stagnant in 42 areas. New York City lost the most jobs (-3,400 or -2 percent), followed by Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida (-2,400 jobs, -3 percent) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (-1,900 jobs, -3 percent). The largest percentage declines were in Danville, Illinois (-17 percent, -100 jobs); Charleston, West Virginia (-10 percent, -700 jobs); San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California (-8 percent, -800 jobs); and Tuscaloosa, Alabama (-8 percent, -500 jobs).