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AGC Report: Construction Employment Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Peak in Majority of Metro Areas

National – Construction employment increased from February 2020 to February 2022 in nearly three-fifths of U.S. metro areas, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of new government employment data.

There were 364,000 job openings in construction at the end of February, the most for any February since the government first compiled the data in 2001, noted Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. Openings exceeded the 342,000 workers hired by construction firms that month, which implies contractors wanted to hire twice as many employees as they were able to, he said.

Construction employment rose in 209 or 58% of 358 metro areas over the 24-month period. Salt Lake City, Utah added the most construction jobs (5,100 jobs, 11%), followed by Jacksonville, Florida (4,800 jobs, 10%); Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn. (4,000 jobs, 8%); and Boise City, Idaho (3,800 jobs, 14%). Walla Walla, Wash. had the highest percentage gain (36%, 400 jobs), followed by Decatur, Ill. (32%, 900 jobs); Lawrence-Methuen Town-Salem, Mass.-N.H. (24%, 800 jobs); and Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz. (23%, 800 jobs).

Construction employment declined in 109 metro areas from the February 2020 level and was stagnant in 40 areas. New York City lost the most jobs (-25,500 or -16%), followed by Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (-23,400 jobs, -10%) and Baton Rouge, La. (-6,800 jobs, -14%). The largest percentage declines were in Odessa, Texas (-27%, -5,500 jobs); Greeley, Colo. (-24%, -4,700 jobs); and Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (-22%, -4,700 jobs).