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Pascagoula, Miss., posted the largest percent increase in construction jobs between January 2013 and January 2012 among U.S. metropolitan areas, the Associated General Contractors of America announced last Friday. The Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas, area and Cheyenne, Wyo., area posted the second-largest percentage increases at 19 percent each.
Construction employment increased in 145 out of 339 metropolitan areas between January 2013 and January 2012, according to the association. Construction employment declined in 141 areas and was stagnant in 53 areas.
Association officials noted that after years of declining construction employment, many former construction workers have left for other industries or retired. Additionally, 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 CEO. “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.”
The metro areas with the highest percentage of construction job growth are:
- Pascagoula, Miss.: 45 percent, 1,500 jobs
- Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas: 19 percent, 600 jobs
- Cheyenne, Wyo.: 19 percent, 500 jobs
- Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Mass.-N.H.: 18 percent, 600 jobs
- Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas: 10,100 jobs, 10 percent
Areas adding a large number of jobs included Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., with 9,600 jobs; Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, with 8,700 jobs; and Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz., with 6,000 jobs.
The largest job losses were in:
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill.: -3,500 jobs, -3 percent
- Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.: -3,500 jobs, -19 percent
- Northern Virginia: -3,200 jobs, -5 percent
- Charleston, W.V.: -2,900 jobs, -20 percent