Construction employment increased in 226 of 358 metro areas between July 2022 and July 2023, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new government employment data. Association officials said demand for many types of construction remained strong in most parts of the country, but firms still have hundreds of thousands of unfilled construction positions.
“Demand for construction projects remains strong nationwide and most metros have continued to add construction jobs in the past year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist in the press release. “But there were 378,000 unfilled job openings in construction at the end of July, which suggests that even more markets would have posted year-over-year employment increases if there were enough qualified workers to fill the openings.”
Total construction employment increased +2.5% to 8.2 million workers, according to the preliminary July data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Electrical contractors account for an estimated 13% of that total, or 1.06 million workers.
The Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX metropolitan statistical area (MSA) added the most construction jobs (18,100 jobs or +12%), followed by New York City (13,400 jobs, +9%); Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSA (9,700 jobs, +12%); and the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA MSA (6,600 jobs, +4%). The largest percentage gains were in the Yuba City, CA MSA (+13%, 400 jobs) and Corvallis, OR MSA (+13%, 200 jobs); followed by gains of +12% in Dallas-Plano-Irving; Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro; and Clarksville, TN-KY MSA (500 jobs).
Construction jobs declined over the year in 80 metro areas and were unchanged in 52 areas. The largest job loss occurred in the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL MSA. (-4,100 jobs, -8%), followed by the Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY MSA (-2,300 jobs, -3%); the St. Louis, MO-IL MSA (-2,100 jobs, -3%); and the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA MSA (-2,100 jobs, -1%). The largest percentage decrease, -13%, occurred in the Kankakee, IL MSA (-200 jobs), followed by -9% losses in the Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH MSA (-1,400 jobs); the Binghamton, NY MSA (-400 jobs); and the Pittsfield, MA MSA (-200 jobs).
Although the August data for local markets is not yet available, BLS’ August national-level data showed that construction employment in August totaled 7,993,000, seasonally adjusted, an increase of 22,000 from July and 212,000 or +2.7% from a year earlier. That outpaced total nonfarm job growth of +2% over 12 months. Nonresidential construction firms — nonresidential building and specialty trade contractors along with heavy and civil engineering construction firms — added 21,000 employees for the month and 169,700 (+3.7%) since July 2022.