Adobe Stock/Lisa F. Young

Construction employment grew in 27 states on a month-over-month basis from September to October, according to an analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). However, the association noted many more companies would have hired employees if qualified applicants were available. The discrepancy between hires and demand for labor is reflected by the increasing number of construction job openings in October.

“Although barely half of states added workers in October, government data on job openings and hires show contractors were eager to add employees,” says AGC chief economist Ken Simonson. “The shortfall in available workers is undermining job gains and causing delays and higher costs for many projects.”

The 412,000 job openings in construction at the end of September was the largest amount for any September since the Bureau of Labor Statistics series began in 2001, according to the AGC. The number of job openings also far exceeded the 348,000 employees hired during the month.

Of the states that added construction employees in October, New York, Colorado, and Utah added the most jobs in pure numbers during the month. North Dakota, Mississippi, and Nebraska experienced the largest percentage gains in construction jobs during October.

Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Florida experienced the largest decline in construction jobs in October, while Louisiana, Wyoming, and West Virginia experienced the largest percentage loss for sector jobs during the month.

The AGC says addressing workforce shortages will help tame rising construction costs and keep more projects on schedule.