Construction employment declines in Charlotte, increases in most of rest of state

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agca employment map

North Carolina’s construction employment market data shows mixed conditions, with some areas of the state growing but the Charlotte area reporting one of the largest employment declines in the nation, according to US labor department data compiled by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA).

The data compiled for the year between April 2018 and April 2019 shows that employment in Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia declined 4 percent or by 2,600 workers in the year. The data for some areas including Charlotte includes mining and logging work, though these would not comprise a significant portion of worker in that market. The decline still leaves a labor force of 61,400 workers — the region ranked 333 of 357 in the nation. The only other NC community to report a decline in employment was Wilmington, which saw a 2 percent job loss.

Conversely, employment grew by 9 percent in both Fayetteville and Greenville, while the Triangle area (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, reported a 2 percent gain.

See data for North Carolina areas below in ranking order:

Numbers relate to employment in April 2018, April 2019, the percentage change, the actual number of additional (or less) employees, and the nation-wide ranking by market area.

  • Fayetteville, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 5,300 5,800 9% 500 35
  • Greenville, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 3,300 3,600 9% 300 35
  • Winston-Salem, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 10,600 11,200 6% 600 84
  • Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 10,200 10,800 6% 600 84
  • Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,200 4,400 5% 200 124
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 37,900 39,200 3% 1,300 169
  • Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,600 8,800 2% 200 199
  • Raleigh, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 39,700 40,400 2% 700 199
  • Greensboro-High Point, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 15,500 15,700 1% 200 225
  • Burlington, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 2,900 2,900 0% 0 251
  • Rocky Mount, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 2,600 2,600 0% 0 251
  • Wilmington, NC Mining, Logging, and Construction 8,900 8,700 -2% -200 31
  • Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC Mining, Logging, and Construction 64,000 61,400 -4% -2,600 333

Nationally, construction employment grew in 250 out of 358 metro areas between April 2018 and April 2019, declined in 53 and was unchanged in 55, AGCA officials said, adding that construction employment in many parts of the country likely would have been higher if firms could find more qualified workers to hire.

“Demand for construction is steady or rising in most parts of the country, and many contractors are adding workers when they can find them,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “At the same time, many firms report they would have hired even more employees if only they could find enough qualified workers.”

The Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. metro area added the most construction jobs during the past year (16,600 jobs, 14 percent). Other metro areas adding a large amount of construction jobs during the past 12 months include Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (9,200 jobs, 6 percent); Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. (7,000 jobs, 6 percent) and Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (6,800 jobs, 11 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Monroe, Mich. (26 percent, 500 jobs) and St. Cloud, Minn. (26 percent, 1,500 jobs), followed by Auburn-Opelika, Ala. (25 percent, 600 jobs) and Norwich-New London-Westerly, Conn.-R.I. (16 percent, 600 jobs).

The largest job losses between April 2018 and April 2019 occurred in Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, N.C.-S.C. (-2,600 jobs, -4 percent), followed by Baton Rouge, La. (-1,800 jobs, -3 percent); Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn. (-1,600 jobs, -8 percent) and Longview, Texas (-1,300 jobs, -9 percent). The largest percentage decrease took place in Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. (-13 percent, -1,200 jobs) and Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (-13 percent, -800 jobs), followed by Niles-Benton Harbor, Mich. (-12 percent, -300 jobs); Evansville, Ind.-Ky. (-9 percent, -1,000 jobs) and Longview, Texas.

Association officials said that even though construction employment continues to expand in many parts of the country, workforce shortages remain problematic for many contractors eager to keep pace with strong demand. They urged federal officials to boost investments in career and technical education and to enact immigration reform that allows more men and women with construction skills to legally enter the country. They also urged state and local education officials to establish more school programs that offer exposure to essential construction skills.

“One reason relatively few young adults choose to pursue rewarding careers in construction is because not many of them are being told it is an option to consider,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “We have a lot of contractors looking for workers so they can keep up with the amount of work that is out there.”

View the metro employment rankings and map.

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