AGC: Construction Employment Falls in a Quarter of Metro Areas Between Nov 2022-23

hard-hats-on-rack-waiting for workers-construction

Construction employment declined in almost a quarter of metro areas between November 2022 and November 2023 as demand tapered in some parts of the country and labor shortages made it hard for contractors to fill vacancies, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new government employment data. 

“Although construction employment is still growing in most parts of the country, it is falling in more places than earlier this year,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “In some cases, firms are seeing a slowdown in demand, but for many the biggest challenge is finding enough workers to hire.”

Construction employment rose in 213 or 59 percent of 358 metro areas. Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas added the most construction jobs (12,500 jobs, 8 percent), followed by New York City (9,900 jobs, 7 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (9,700 jobs, 8 percent); Baton Rouge, La. (9,400 jobs, 19 percent); and Austin-Round Rock, Texas (8,100 jobs, 10 percent). The largest percentage gain was in Baton Rouge, followed by Tulsa, Okla. (16 percent, 4,000 jobs); Corvallis, Ore. (13 percent, 200 jobs); and 12 percent gains in Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark. (2,200 jobs); Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (500 jobs); Lexington-Fayette, Ky. (1,700 jobs); Albuquerque, N.M. (3,000 jobs).

Construction employment declined over the year in 81 or 23 percent of metro areas and was unchanged in 64 areas. The largest job loss occurred in Orange-Rockland-Westchester, N.Y. (-5,100 jobs, -11 percent); followed by Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (-4,900 jobs, -2 percent); Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (-4,700 jobs, -4 percent); and Nassau County-Suffolk County, N.Y. (-4,000 jobs, -5 percent). The largest percentage loss occurred in Orange-Rockland-Westchester, followed by Bloomington, Ill. (-10 percent, -300 jobs); Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, N.J. (-8 percent, -2,700 jobs); and Wenatchee, Wash. (-8 percent, -300 jobs).

Association officials noted that the latest metro construction employment figures are consistent with the results of the new Construction Hiring & Business Outlook that the association and Sage will release this Thursday. The Outlook includes predictions about whether the industry will continue to add jobs in 2024, and what types of construction projects will be in demand. It also measures how many firms are investing in artificial intelligence, robotics and other technologies.

“Even as the broader construction industry continues to expand, a growing number of metro areas are experiencing employment pains,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Our new Outlook will show whether contractors expect to continue adding jobs or if those employment pains will expand in 2024.”

View the metro employment datarank, and top 10. Click here for information on how to join the 2024 Outlook release media briefing.