A few years ago, the construction industry was in freefall, with projects scarce and rampant layoffs. Today, however, the problem facing the industry is finding enough workers, experts say.
Between June 2016 and June of this year, 41 states added construction jobs, the Associated General Contractors of America said, citing government figures. The handful of states reporting declines do not lack for work, the association added.
"Contractors in most of the country say they have plenty of projects booked and would like to hire more workers if they could find them, so it is likely that some states with monthly employment declines have a shortage of workers available to hire rather than a slowdown in work," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. "Given the low unemployment rate in most states, other industries are competing hard for workers, making it difficult for contractors to find new construction workers, let alone experienced ones."
States adding the most jobs include California, Florida, Louisiana, Texas and Oregon. Declines were reported in Washington, D.C.; Alaska, South Dakota, Mississippi and Missouri.
AGC officials called on Washington to expand industry training efforts to increase the number of construction workers.
The need for more craft workers in fields like construction is growing every month," said Stephen E. Sandherr, association CEO. "There is a correspondingly urgent need to put in place measures that can expand training opportunities for people considering careers in construction."