An analysis of government employment data shows an increase in construction employment across the country, although some areas are struggling to find skilled workers.
“Entrepreneurs are eager to hire more workers, but the pool of experienced job seekers barely exists,” AGC chief economist Ken Simonson said in a prepared statement. “As a result, job gains have stagnated in too many metros.”
The unemployment rate for job seekers with construction experience fell from 7.7% in April 2021 to 4.6% in April 2022, the lowest April rate since the series began in 2000 , according to Simonson. He said this indicated a shortage of skilled workers available for hire in many metropolitan areas.
The government’s job vacancies and labor turnover survey showed there were 415,000 construction vacancies at the end of March, the highest total for this month in the 22-year history of the survey, according to Simonson. Openings topped 388,000 employees hired in March, suggesting construction companies would have added twice as many employees had they been available, he said.
Construction employment rose in 235, or 66%, of the 358 metropolitan areas over the 12-month period. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas added the most construction jobs (13,000 jobs or 6%), followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (9,200 jobs, 6%); St. Louis, Missouri-Illinois (5,400 jobs, 8%); and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington (5,400 jobs, 5%). Cheyenne, Wyoming had the highest percentage gain (32%, 1,100 jobs), followed by Decatur, Illinois (25%, 800 jobs); and Norwich-New London-Westerly, Connecticut-Rhode Island (21%, 800 jobs).
Construction employment fell in 62 metropolitan areas compared with April 2021 and remained unchanged in 61 regions. The largest losses were recorded in Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida (-3,800 jobs, -5%), followed by New York (-2,100 or -1%) and Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin (-1,500 jobs, -2%). The largest percentage declines were in Lewiston, Idaho-Washington (-17%, -300 jobs); Niles-Benton Harbor, Michigan (-13%, -300 jobs); and Gadsden, Alabama (-9%, -100 jobs).