Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford reports construction employment drop

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Florida Construction News staff writer

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford lost -6,800 construction jobs, -8 percent, compare to last year – followed by Baton Rouge, La. (-5,000 jobs, -11 percent); Richmond, Va. (-2,800 jobs, -7 percent); and San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas (-2,800 jobs, -5 percent).

Despite the declines in some areas, overall construction employment increased in 75 percent of 358 metro areas across the U.S. over the past 12 months, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America. However, job vacancies outpaced hiring as construction companies still struggle to find enough qualified workers.

“While three out of four metros added construction jobs in the past year, gains would have been even more widespread if contractors could find enough qualified workers,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Job openings at the end of September topped the number of construction employees hired all month, implying that contractors wanted to hire more than twice as many workers as they were able to find.”

The report shows 412,000 job openings in construction at the end of September, which exceeded the 348,000 employees hired during the month. The industry’s unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, indicating there were fewer individuals with construction experience available to hire.

Construction employment declined over the year in 47 metro areas and was unchanged in 43.

Association officials are urging Congress and the Biden administration to address construction labor shortages that “threaten to undermine new economic activity and infrastructure upgrades. They said measures to allow more work visas for construction positions would provide short-term relief”.

Another potential solution involves investing in education and training.

“Instead of urging every student to attend college, amass debt and seek loan relief, public officials should show future workers there are multiple paths to success, including in construction,” said association Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “It is time to start investing in the kind of workforce training and education that will allow more Americans to pursue high-paying construction careers.”

View the metro employment datarankingstop 10, and multi-division metros.

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