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Construction employment on the rise, but qualified workers hard to find


Hard hats are in big demand, as construction employment increased in 228 out of 358 metro areas in the last year.

According to a report just issued by the Associated General Contractors of America, which measured construction employment between June 2015 and June 2016, the status remained unchanged in 48 metro areas and dipped in 82 areas in the June-to-June timeframe.

Association officials urged Congress to act on legislation to reform and increase federal funding for career and technical education to encourage more high school students to pursue high-paying careers in construction.

"Contractors are adding employees in most parts of the country, while construction job losses are primarily in areas that are most affected by the steep decline in oil and gas drilling," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, adding that construction employment hit new peak levels in 32 metro areas. "However, increases in construction employment are becoming less widespread as more contractors run into difficulty finding qualified workers."

Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, California added the most construction jobs during the past year (12,500 jobs, 14%). Other metro areas adding a large number of construction jobs include Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado (10,700 jobs, 11%); Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona (9,900 jobs, 10%); and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida (9,500 jobs, 16%). The largest percentage gains occurred in Kokomo, Indiana (20%, 200 jobs); Boise City, Idaho (19%, 3,600 jobs); Brockton-Bridgewater-Eastern, Massachusetts (17%, 800 jobs) and Danville, Illinois (17%, 100 jobs).

The largest job losses from June 2015 to June 2016 were in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (-3,300 jobs, -2%).
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