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News » International » US faces construction skills shortage » published 25/03/2013

US faces construction skills shortage

Construction employment increased in 145 out of 339 US metropolitan areas in the year to January 2013, prompting fears about a shortage of skilled workers.

Employment declined in 141 areas and was stagnant in 53, according to a new analysis of employment data by Associated General Contractors of America.

Officials noted that, after years of declining construction employment, contractors in some areas are beginning to worry about the availability of skilled workers now that they have resumed hiring.

Association officials said that many former construction workers have left for other industries or retired. They added that the industry's dire 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 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."

Pascagoula in Missouri added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (45%, 1,500 jobs) followed by Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas (19%, 600 jobs) and Cheyenne, Wyoming (19%, 500 jobs). The largest job losses were in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Illinois (-3,500 jobs, -3%) and Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Michigan (-3,500 jobs, -19%).

"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."

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This article was published on 25/03/2013 (last updated on 25/03/2013).

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