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Charlotte-area construction employment up 11%

Construction employment in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia region grew by 5,700 jobs in October to 59,600 from 53,900 a year earlier. That 11 percent increase placed the metro 33rd in the nation for growth rate.

The Associated General Contractors of America surveyed 358 metros nationally, and found that construction employment increased in 180 areas and fell in 132. There was no change in employment in 46 metros.

“Contractors are adding workers in many parts of the country again, which is consistent with the robust growth that is occurring in construction spending,” said AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson. “But job gains would be even more widespread if contractors could find enough qualified experienced craft workers and supervisors as well as new entrants to the industry.”

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 Watertown-Fort Drum, New York, and Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Mississippi, with the metros seeing employment drops of 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively. The biggest gains over the last year were in Steubenville, Ohio, up 56 percent, and Wenatchee, Washington, where the employment base grew 21 percent.

Fort Worth, Texas, lost the most jobs, with employment dropping by 6,000, followed by Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, New Jersey, which lost 2,200 workers.

The largest increases were in Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, California, which added 9,800 jobs, followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California, which gained 9,400 jobs.

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