Construction employment increased in 221, or 62 percent, of 358 metro areas between June 2022 and 2023, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new government employment data. Association officials said the job gains in many parts of the country would have been higher if firms could find more workers to hire.

“Demand remains strong for many types of construction projects in much of the country,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But it remains difficult for many firms to find enough workers to hire to keep pace with that strong demand.”

Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, added the most construction jobs (16,300 jobs, 10 percent), followed by New York City (10,200 jobs, 7 percent); Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Oregon-Washington (8,600 jobs, 11 percent); Northern Virginia, Virginia (6,900 jobs, 9 percent); and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (6,500 jobs, 14 percent). The largest percentage gains were in Corvallis, Oregon (21 percent, 300 jobs), followed by gains in Clarksville, Tennessee-Kentucky (15 percent, 600 jobs); Midland, Texas (15 percent, 5,500 jobs); Baton Rouge; and Odessa, Texas (13 percent, 2,300 jobs).

Construction jobs declined over the year in 69 metro areas and were unchanged in 68 areas. The largest loss occurred in St. Louis (-4,400 jobs, -6 percent), followed by Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Florida (-3,300 jobs, -6 percent); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, California (-3,000 jobs, -2 percent); Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California (-2,600 jobs, -3 percent); and Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Florida (-2,200 jobs, -5 percent). Monroe, Michigan, experienced the largest percentage job loss (-19 percent, -500 jobs), followed by Kankakee, Illinois (-13 percent, 200 jobs); Bay City, Michigan (-12 percent, -200 jobs); Gadsden, Alabama (-9 percent, -100 jobs); and Pittsfield, Massachusetts (-9 percent, -200 jobs).

Association officials said the best way to address construction labor shortages was to boost funding for construction training and education programs and to allow more people with construction skills to lawfully enter the country. They added that additional funding for workforce education programs was necessary to offset the massive investment the federal government makes in urging students to pursue college degrees and non-construction careers.

“Public officials need to embrace an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to addressing severe construction labor shortages,” Sandherr said. “This approach includes supporting more construction education programs and embracing sensible immigration reform policies to allow more people with construction skills to lawfully enter the country.”