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Construction employment increased in 145 out of 339 metropolitan areas between January 2012 and January 2013, declined in 141 and was stagnant in 53, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that after years of declining construction employment contractors in some metro areas are beginning to worry about the availability of skilled workers now that they have resumed hiring.
“Not only are a slight plurality of metro areas adding construction jobs, but those areas appear to be adding jobs at a faster rate than places where construction employment continues to decline,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Considering the already-released national construction employment figures for February, we are likely to see more metro areas adding jobs in the next report.”
Association officials noted that after years of declining construction employment, many former construction workers have left for other industries or retired. They added that the industry’s conditions have deterred many graduates from pursuing careers in construction and as a result, the industry is likely to face a shortage of available skilled workers in some parts of the country if the industry continues to add jobs.
“Between the challenges of attracting new recruits and retaining out-of-work ones, there aren’t that many skilled workers waiting for a call-back in many parts of the country,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “If the industry continues to add jobs, it won’t be long before contractors in some parts of the country are scrambling to find enough skilled workers to meet demand.”