New York City, N.Y. (9,200 jobs, 7 percent) added the most construction jobs during the past year.
Construction employment increased in 190 out of 358 metro areas, was unchanged in 64 and declined in 104 between November 2014 and November 2015, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released Dec. 29 by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the number of metro areas experiencing construction job growth continues to grow as firms appear to be having an easier time finding workers to hire steady amid reports of worker shortages.
“Construction employment is expanding in more parts of the country now that firms appear to be having more success finding workers to hire,” said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. “Firms may not be able to continue expanding their headcounts as rapidly unless public officials increase investments in career and technical education programs.”
New York City, N.Y. (9,200 jobs, 7 percent) added the most construction jobs during the past year. Other metro areas adding a large number of construction jobs include Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (8,300 jobs, 9 percent); Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. (8,200 jobs, 10 percent) and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (7,900 jobs, 8 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio (50 percent, 800 jobs); Boise, Idaho (19 percent, 3,300 jobs); Coeur d'Alene (18 percent, 700 jobs) and Huntsville, Ala. (18 percent, 1,400 jobs).
The largest job losses from November 2014 to November 2015 were in Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (minus 5,400 jobs, minus 7 percent); followed by Raleigh, N.C. (minus 1,800 jobs, minus 5 percent); Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, N.J. (minus 1,500 jobs, minus 5 percent); Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. (minus 1,400 jobs, minus 16 percent) and New Orleans-Metairie, La. (minus 1,400 jobs, minus 5 percent). The largest percentage decline for the past year was in Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula; followed by Bloomington, Ill. (minus 14 percent, minus 400 jobs); Kankakee, Ill. (minus 14 percent, minus 200 jobs); Fort Smith, Ark. (minus 13 percent, minus 900 jobs) and Walla Walla, Wash. (minus 13 percent, minus 100 jobs).
Association officials said that while it is encouraging that more firms appear to be finding qualified workers to hire, many parts of the country still lack for career and technical training programs, especially at the secondary school level. They said if public officials would act on the measures outlined in the association's Workforce Development Plan then more students and young adults would have an opportunity to begin high-paying careers in construction.
“It will only take a few modest investments in career and technical education to give thousands of young people a chance to earn a good living working in construction,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. “Without more programs to expose students and young adults to basic construction skills, the industry will continue to struggle with worker shortages for years to come.”