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Wed, 03/13/2024 – 10:17

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale and Lawton, Okla. Top Lists of Year-over-Year Increases in Industry Employment While New York City and Decatur, Ill. Experience Worst Number and Percent of Construction Job Losses

Construction employment increased in 231 or 65 percent of 358 metro areas between January 2023 and January 2024, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new government employment data. Association officials noted that the industry ended the month with more than 400,000 job openings nationwide, suggesting that many more metros would have experienced employment increases if enough qualified workers were available.

“Although construction employment has been rising nationally and in nearly two-thirds of metro areas, contractors are eager to hire far more workers,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “There were 407,000 unfilled positions in construction at the end of January, which was a near-record level for January,” he said, citing the government’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. added the most construction jobs (10,900 jobs or 8 percent) between January 2023 and January 2024, followed by Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif. (7,900 jobs, 7 percent); Baton Rouge, La. (6,700 jobs, 15 percent); Austin-Round Rock, Texas (5,900 jobs, 7 percent); and Forth Worth-Arlington, Texas (5,900 jobs, 8 percent). The largest percentage gain was in Lawton, Okla. (29 percent, 400 jobs), followed by Wenatchee, Wash. (27 percent, 800 jobs); Fairbanks, Alaska (25 percent, 500 jobs); and Redding, Calif. (22 percent, 800 jobs).

Construction employment declined over the year in 83 metro areas and was unchanged in 44 areas. The largest job loss occurred in New York City (-7,000 jobs, -5 percent), followed by Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.-Wis. (-6,100 jobs, -8 percent); Nassau County-Suffolk County, N.Y. (-4,500 jobs, -5 percent); Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. (-4,900 jobs, -6 percent); and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (-4,600 jobs, -4 percent). The largest percentage decrease occurred in Decatur, Ill. (-24 percent, -900 jobs), followed by Augusta-Richmond County, Ga.-S.C. (-15 percent, -2,500 jobs); Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio (-11 percent, -200 jobs); Duluth, Minn.-Wis. (-10 percent, -900 jobs); and Bellingham, Wash. (-10 percent, -900 jobs).

Association officials cautioned that a recent proposed rulemaking by the Biden administration threatened to make it harder for the construction industry to prepare future workers. They said the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed National Apprenticeship System Enhancements rule would restrict the industry’s ability to create new registered apprenticeship training programs, which offer one of the most effective ways to train future workers.

“Everyone in the industry understands that we need an all-of-the-above approach to preparing future workers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Yet this administration is proposing rules that narrow, instead of expand, opportunities to train future construction professionals.”

View the metro employment datarank, and top 10.