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Construction Job Growth, Shortages

Monday, March 27, 2017

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U.S. construction employment increased by 58,000 jobs in February, to reach 6.8 million, the highest level since November 2008, according an analysis of new government data.

Both residential and nonresidential construction added jobs for the month and year, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Residential construction (residential building and specialty trade contractors) added 18,900 jobs in February and 136,200 over 12 months.

Associated General Contractors of America

Residential and nonresidential construction both saw growth in job numbers in February and for the year.

Nonresidential construction (building, specialty trades, and heavy and civil engineering construction) expanded by 38,500 employees in February and 82,600 over 12 months.

Mixed Picture

Despite a relatively widespread increase in industry employment, conditions vary widely among the states, AGC reported.

“Five states set new records for construction employment, while more than half the states are still at least 10 percent below their all-time highs,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association.

Forty-three states added construction jobs between February 2016 and February 2017, while 39 states added construction jobs between January and February, according to the analysis.

The AGC noted that Florida added the most construction jobs (34,700, 7.5 percent) over the past 12 months. Other states adding a high number of jobs included California, Texas and Louisiana.

The association said seven states and the District of Columbia shed construction jobs over the last year. Mississippi lost the highest number and percentage of construction jobs (-4,000 jobs, -8.7 percent). Virginia (-1,400 jobs, -0.7 percent) had the second-highest number of job losses over the year, followed by D.C.

Shortage Warning

Association officials said that as the jobs are added, many firms continue to face shortages of available qualified workers as they try to keep pace with growing demand.  

"More high school students should know that there are multiple paths to successful careers, and often those paths lead to construction," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's CEO. "If we want construction firms to continue expanding, we need to make sure there are enough qualified workers available to do the job."


Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); Business matters; Economy; Jobs; Workers

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