Construction employment grew in 70% of the 258 metro areas analyzed by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) between August 2018 and August 2019. Despite tight labor conditions and a majority of contractors reporting having difficulty finding enough workers to hire, the data suggests many firms are finding ways to add staff. The news release from the AGC indicates 252 metro areas saw construction employment increase on a year over year (YOY) basis.

“Construction firms would likely be adding even more jobs if they could find more qualified workers to hire,” Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist said in a public statement. “But tight labor market conditions are prompting many firms to become more efficient and more adaptable to keep pace with demand for their services.”

The growth in construction employment YOY is consistent with recent monthly reports from the AGC. In July, 258 metros added construction jobs YOY, while 253 and 249 added industry jobs in June and May, respectively.

In order to make positions more appealing, many firms are boosting pay and benefits, investing in more training programs, and adopting new technologies and techniques to become more efficient, according to the AGC. Even with these efforts to attract workers, firms are often proposing longer construction schedules and charging higher prices as a result of the continued skilled labor shortage.

Dallas-Plano, Irving, Texas, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., and St. Louis, Mo., added the most construction jobs in pure numbers during the past 12 months, while Auburn-Opelika, Ala., and Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash., reported the highest percentage gain in industry employment in the same time period. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C., and Baton Rouge, La., experienced the largest number of jobs lost between August 2018 and August 2019, while Fiarbanks, Alaska, and Longview, Texas, experienced the steepest percentage decline in employment YOY.