Construction employment increased in 243 out of 358 metro areas between May 2016 and May 2017, declined in 59 and stagnated in 54, according to an analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

“Construction employment gains in many parts of the country likely would have been even more robust if it were easier for most firms to find qualified workers,” says AGC chief economist Ken Simonson. “As a result of tight labor market conditions, many firms are opting to invest more in training, find ways to become more efficient or use new techniques like off-site prefabrication or robotics to reduce labor needs.”

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (16,500 jobs, 18 percent) added the most construction jobs during the past year, followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (9,100 jobs, 13 percent); Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. (7,900 jobs, 7 percent); Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (7,500 jobs, 14 percent); and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (7,000 jobs, 5 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in the Lake Charles, La. metro area (24 percent, 4,500 jobs), followed by Lewiston, Idaho-Wash. (23 percent; 300 jobs); Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, Mich. (19 percent, 4,100 jobs) and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (18 percent, 16,500 jobs).

The largest job losses from May 2016 to May 2017 were in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (-5,300 jobs, -2 percent), followed by Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, N.J. (-3,400 jobs, -9 percent), Pittsburgh, Pa. (-2,900 jobs, -5 percent) and Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis. (-2,400 jobs, -8 percent). The largest percentage decreases for the year were in Danville, Ill. (-17 percent, -100 jobs); Casper, Wyo. (-15 percent, -500 jobs); Grand Forks, N.D. (-15 percent, -600 jobs); Charleston, W.Va. (-12 percent, – 900 jobs); Bay City, Mich. (-9 percent, -3,400 jobs) and Middlesex-Monmouth-Ocean, N.J.