Labor shortages in the construction industry persist despite record job openings, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) reports in a new analysis of June federal employment data.
The shortage has prompted AGC officials to call on government officials to let employers sponsor more foreign-born workers and support more career and technical education.
“Construction employment has stalled in many states, even though contractors have plenty of projects needing more employees, due to a dearth of qualified workers,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “Only half the states had an increase in construction employment last month.”
Data presented by the AGC show that the biggest June employment gap was in New York (-36,300 jobs, -8.9%), followed by Pennsylvania (-9,500 jobs, -3.6%) and New Jersey (-8,800 jobs, -5.4%). New York had the largest percentage shortfall, followed by North Dakota (-6.4%, -1,800 jobs) and Hawaii (-5.8%, -2,200 jobs).
Utah added the most (16,100 jobs, 14.1%), followed by Tennessee (15,900 jobs, 12.0%) and Washington (11,200 jobs, 5.0%). The top percentage gains were in Utah, Idaho (12.9%, 7,100 jobs), and Tennessee.
In June, 25 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs, 23 states lost jobs and there was no change in Hawaii and West Virginia. Pennsylvania added the most construction jobs over the month (4,400 jobs, 1.7%), followed by Massachusetts (3,300 jobs, 1.9%) and North Carolina (3,000 jobs, 1.2%). Oregon had the largest percentage gain (2.4%, 2,800 jobs), followed by Nebraska (2.3%, 1,300 jobs) and Arkansas (2.1%, 1,100 jobs).
California lost the most construction jobs in June (-6,100 jobs, -0.7%), followed by Texas (-3,000 jobs, -0.4%) and Florida (-2,400 jobs, -0.4%). Connecticut had the largest percentage loss (-2.9%, -1,800 jobs), followed by Wyoming (-2.2%, -500 jobs) and New Jersey (-1.4%, -2,200 jobs).
“The quickest way to ensure a sufficient worker supply is to allow employers to sponsor qualified, foreign-born workers,” says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s chief executive officer. “In addition, all levels of government must invest more in career and technical education and training to widen the opportunities for individuals to qualify for rewarding, well-paying construction jobs.”