Construction Employment Increases in 75% of Metros

Feb. 9, 2018

Construction employment continued to gain ground last year, but there are still factors holding it back. Employment increased from December 2016 to December 2017 in 269 out of 358 metro areas, according to this week’s analysis from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

California’s Inland Empire (Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario) saw the most job gains during the past year at more than 14,000. The Las Vegas metro area was second at nearly 11,000 jobs. New York City, San Antonio and Phoenix rounded out the top five locations of total job gains. Columbia, South Carolina, topped the list of largest job losses at 3,200. Kansas City, Missouri, was second at 2,800. Both locations were also in the top five for percent of job losses at -20% and -10%, respectively.

The construction skilled labor shortage and uncertainty surrounding the infrastructure plan are among the top elements holding construction employment growth back. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada Contractors Association President Justin Kittrell said people are coming back to the area for construction jobs, but it’s not enough nor are there enough qualified workers. “As a result, projects are taking longer and costs are rising with overtime pay and, with demand outweighing supply, higher wages,” according to the Review-Journal. Even with the construction of the new football stadium, the labor shortage is still there.

As for the infrastructure plan, “there is little doubt that more firms would be able to expand their headcount this year if Congress would enact a substantial boost in infrastructure projects, as many members of both parties advocate,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson in the release.

-Michael Miller, associate editor

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