late summer statistics show continued increase in construction employment in vast majority of the country's metro areas
Numbers released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and analyzed by the Washington-based Associated General Contractors of America reveal that construction jobs have increased in 80 percent of the nation’s metro areas.
Those numbers also indicate that construction employment decreased in only 35 out of 358 defined metro areas, compared to recorded increases in 287 of those areas.
The sustained job growth, according to the AGC, is expected to continue well into 2019.
In a statement, Ken Simonson, chief economist with the AGC, noted that “three out of four firms in our association’s latest workforce survey say they plan to add hourly craft personnel in the next year.”
At the same time, an overwhelming 80 percent of the responding firms said they are continuing to have a difficult time finding workers for craft jobs and expect that challenge to go unchanged for the foreseeable future.
According to the report, metro areas including Merced, California; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Midland, Texas, saw the greatest percentage increases in construction jobs between August of last year and August 2018, ranging from 24 percent to 32 percent.
The most actual raw job increases were seen in the Houston metro area with a gain of nearly 29,000 jobs in the last year; metro Dallas, with 13,600 new jobs, and the Phoenix-Mesa Scottsdale metro area, also with 13,600 new jobs.
More than 2,500 companies responded to the AGC survey.
The percentage of firms predicting continued challenges in finding qualified workers varied only slightly by region from 77 percent in the Northeast to 81 percent in the South and West.
By Garry Boulard