Construction Employment Rises In 224 Of 358 Metro Areas Between December 2022 And December 2023

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Ken Simonson

Construction employment increased in 224 of 358 metro areas between December 2022 and December 2023, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new government employment data. Association officials noted that the industry still has nearly 400,000 unfilled positions nationwide, and likely would have added even more jobs if firms could find more qualified workers to hire.

“Even more metro areas would have added workers if they were available,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But there were 374,000 job openings in construction at the end of December according to a separate government report, illustrating the difficulty contractors face in filling positions.”

Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas added the most construction jobs (12,300 jobs, 8 percent), followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (10,400 jobs, 7 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. (10,000 jobs, 9 percent); Baton Rouge, La. (9,100 jobs, 18 percent); and Austin-Round Rock, Texas (8,100 jobs, 10 percent). The largest percentage gain was in Sioux Falls, S.D. (20 percent, 2,000 jobs); followed by Tulsa, Okla. (19 percent, 4,600 jobs); Baton Rouge; Danville, Ill. (17 percent, 100 jobs); and Albuquerque, N.M. (16 percent, 4,000 jobs).

Construction employment declined over the year in 80 metro areas and was unchanged in 54 areas. The largest job loss occurred in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (-5,900 jobs, -3 percent); followed by Orange-Rockland-Westchester, N.Y (-4,500 jobs, -10 percent); Nassau County-Suffolk County, N.Y. (-4,500 jobs, -5 percent); and Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (-3,500 jobs, -3 percent). The largest percentage decreases—10 percent each–occurred in Orange-Rockland-Westchester; Pittsfield, Mass. (-200 jobs); and Binghamton, N.Y. (-400 jobs); followed by Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (-8 percent, -1,600 jobs).

Association officials noted that a recently released Senate immigration reform proposal would do little to help address construction labor shortages. The measure makes it harder for individuals to be granted work authorizations and proposes no changes to expand legal temporary worker visa programs that covers people seeking to work in construction.

“The best way to address construction workforce solutions over the long-term is to boost investments in construction education and training programs,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “However, the Senate immigration bill is a missed opportunity to provide some short-term relief while the nation rebuilds the domestic pipeline for preparing future construction professionals.”

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