Construction employment in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia region grew by 5,300 jobs in September to 58,600 from 53,300 a year earlier. That 10 percent increase placed the metro 30th in the nation for growth rate.
The Associated General Contractors of America surveyed 358 metros nationally, and found that construction employment increased in 159 areas and fell in 144. There was no change in employment in 55 metros. The association says many contractors are having a difficult time finding qualified workers to fill available positions.
“It appears that many of these job losses have more to do with a lack of workers than they do a lack of work,” said AGC Chief Executive Stephen Sandherr. “While some markets are seeing a softening in demand, overall construction spending continues to rise while the sector’s unemployment rate continues to fall.”
The AGC cites several factors as having contributed to the shrinking labor pool, including the aging out of some workers into retirement and an exodus from the industry during the recession. In addition, the AGC says fewer workers are entering the profession due to a decline in career and technical training opportunities, including a lack of high school-level programs that expose students to construction as a potential career.
The largest percentage of job declines was found in Las Cruces, New Mexico; Salem, New Hampshire; and Douglas, Arizona, with each area seeing employment drop 17 percent over the last year. The biggest gains were in Steubenville, Ohio, up 33 percent, and Fairbanks, Alaska, up 19 percent.
Metros in Texas saw the most job losses, with Fort Worth losing 6,200 jobs and Houston dropping another 3,300. The largest gains were in Arizona, with the Phoenix-Scottsdale area gaining 8,200 construction jobs, and in Denver, which added 7,900 jobs.