US construction employment rises in 71 percent of US metro areas in June

Wednesday, 31 July 2019 20:23:27 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

US construction employment grew in 253, or 71 percent, out of 358 metro areas between June 2018 and June 2019, declined in 61 and was unchanged in 44, according to a new analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. metro area added the most construction jobs during the past year (13,200 jobs, 11 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Auburn-Opelika, Ala. (24 percent, 600 jobs).

The largest job losses between June 2018 and June 2019 occurred in Baton Rouge, La. (-5,400 jobs, -9 percent). The largest percentage decrease took place in Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (-15 percent, -1,000 jobs).

Association officials said that one of the biggest challenges facing many construction firms is the lack of available, qualified workers to hire. Part of the problem, officials say, is that the nation’s higher education system does not place career and technical education on an equal footing with traditional college education. For example, federal Pell grants cannot be used for construction-focused training programs offered by community and technical colleges. AGC officials have called on Congress and the administration to pass the bipartisan JOBS Act, which would remedy this Pell grant problem.

“It’s time to reverse the federal funding bias against career and technical education and allow students interested in vocational education to have the same opportunities available to students attending four-year colleges,” Sandherr said. “Creating a level playing field will help introduce more young adults to the many opportunities that await in the construction industry.”

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