New York ranks in middle in construction employment growth: AGCA report

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AGCA employment map 2019

New York generally ranked somewhere in the middle of the nation in terms of construction industry employment growth in the past 12 months, federal labor market data gathered by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA) indicates.

The biggest percentage increase happened in Rochester, where construction employment rose 10 percent to 21,700 from 19,700.

New York City added 4,700 jobs, representing a 3 per cent increase to 160,900. (In many areas, mining and forestry are lumped in with construction, but it is inconceivable that either of those occupations would be common in NYC.)

Other notable results include a 7 per cent increase in Nassau and Suffolk counties, where employment increased by 5,500 to 83,200 (or 7 percent). Mining, logging and construction employment increased by 6 percent (or 800) to 13,300, while 900 new workers (a 5 percent increase) were added in Albany-Schenectady-Troy.

In Orange-Rockland-Westchester, employment increased from 42,200 to 43,200, a 2 percent increase, while in Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, employment grew by 1 per cent to 19,600 from 19,800.

Employment growth was flat in Binghamton, Elmira, Glens Falls, Ithaca and
Watertown-Fort Drum.

Nationally, construction employment grew in 250 out of 358 metro areas between April 2018 and April 2019, declined in 53 and was unchanged in 55, AGCA officials said, adding that construction employment in many parts of the country likely would have been higher if firms could find more qualified workers to hire.

“Demand for construction is steady or rising in most parts of the country, and many contractors are adding workers when they can find them,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “At the same time, many firms report they would have hired even more employees if only they could find enough qualified workers.”

The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. metro area added the most construction jobs during the past year (16,600 jobs, 14 percent). Other metro areas adding a large amount of construction jobs during the past 12 months include Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (9,200 jobs, 6 percent); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (8,400 jobs, 6 percent); Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. (7,000 jobs, 6 percent) and Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (6,800 jobs, 11 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Monroe, Mich. (26 percent, 500 jobs) and St. Cloud, Minn. (26 percent, 1,500 jobs), followed by Auburn-Opelika, Ala. (25 percent, 600 jobs) and Norwich-New London-Westerly, Conn.-R.I. (16 percent, 600 jobs).

The largest job losses between April 2018 and April 2019 occurred in Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C. (-2,600 jobs, -4 percent), followed by Baton Rouge, La. (-1,800 jobs, -3 percent); Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn. (-1,600 jobs, -8 percent) and Longview, Texas (-1,300 jobs, -9 percent). The largest percentage decrease took place in Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. (-13 percent, -1,200 jobs) and Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (-13 percent, -800 jobs), followed by Niles-Benton Harbor, Mich. (-12 percent, -300 jobs); Evansville, Ind.-Ky. (-9 percent, -1,000 jobs) and Longview, Texas.

Association officials said that even though construction employment continues to expand in many parts of the country, workforce shortages remain problematic for many contractors eager to keep pace with strong demand. They urged federal officials to boost investments in career and technical education and to enact immigration reform that allows more men and women with construction skills to legally enter the country. They also urged state and local education officials to establish more school programs that offer exposure to essential construction skills.

“One reason relatively few young adults choose to pursue rewarding careers in construction is because not many of them are being told it is an option to consider,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “We have a lot of contractors looking for workers so they can keep up with the amount of work that is out there.”

View the metro employment rankings and map.

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