California construction growth varies by community: AGC

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Construction employment growth (or loss) in California has proven to be very much a local affair in the 12 months between March 2021 and March 2022. Some cities experienced substantial growth, adding 6,000 workers — making it the third largest for growth in the nation in 2022.

Conversely employment declined by 8 per cent or 800 jobs  San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, resulting in a ranking of 355 nationally, according to according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America of new government employment data released on April 21.

Here are the details by municipality:

Rankings show employment levels in March 2021, March 2022, the employment gain or loss, the percentage change and the national rankings based on gain/loss and percentage change

  • Statewide Construction 867,000 900,700 33,700 4%
  • Statewide Mining, Logging, and Construction 885,600 919,800 34,200 4%
  • Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine Div. Construction 100,700 103,600 2,900 3% 20 188
  • Bakersfield Construction 15,600 15,200 -400 -3% 340 334
  • Chico Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,100 4,200 100 2% 219 213
  • El Centro Mining, Logging, and Construction 1,900 1,900 0 0% 269 269
  • Fresno Construction 19,200 20,300 1,100 6% 58 99
  • Hanford-Corcoran Mining, Logging, and Construction 1,000 1,000 0 0% 269 269
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Div. Construction 149,300 155,300 6,000 4% 3 151
  • Madera Mining, Logging, and Construction 2,100 2,200 100 5% 219 123
  • Merced Mining, Logging, and Construction 3,000 3,300 300 10% 144 38
  • Modesto Mining, Logging, and Construction 10,100 10,500 400 4% 118 151
  • Napa Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,500 4,300 -200 -4% 323 348
  • Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley Div. Construction 72,600 73,000 400 1% 118 249
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura Construction 16,800 17,200 400 2% 118 213
  • Redding Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,100 4,500 400 10% 118 38
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario Construction 107,600 108,600 1,000 1% 64 249
  • Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade Construction 71,300 76,000 4,700 7% 6 80
  • Salinas Construction 6,300 6,600 300 5% 144 123
  • San Diego-Carlsbad Construction 81,800 84,200 2,400 3% 25 188
  • San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco Construction 40,900 44,100 3,200 8% 15 58
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara Construction 51,000 53,000 2,000 4% 31 151
  • San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande Mining, Logging, and Construction 9,900 9,100 -800 -8% 351 355
  • San Rafael Div. Construction 7,300 7,700 400 5% 118 123
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville Mining, Logging, and Construction 4,700 4,900 200 4% 169 151
  • Santa Maria-Santa Barbara Construction 9,000 9,100 100 1% 219 249
  • Santa Rosa Construction 15,800 16,200 400 3% 118 188
  • Stockton-Lodi Construction 13,500 14,100 600 4% 91 151
  • Vallejo-Fairfield Construction 11,000 11,900 900 8% 71 58
  • Visalia-Porterville Mining, Logging, and Construction 6,800 7,400 600 9% 91 47
  • Yuba City Mining, Logging, and Construction 2,600 2,800 200 8% 169 58

AGC officials noted that labor shortages likely kept many firms from adding even more workers during the past year.

“It is heartening to see construction employment come back from the depths of pandemic-induced job losses in most areas,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But the skyrocketing number of job openings shows the industry needs far more workers than are available in many parts of the country.”

The government’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows that there were 364,000 job openings in construction going into March–a 52 percent jump from a year earlier, Simonson noted. Openings exceeded the 342,000 employees hired in February, implying that construction firms would have added twice as many employees if they had been available, the economist asserted.

Construction employment rose in 268 or 75 percent of 358 metro areas over the 12-month period. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas added the most construction jobs (9,300 jobs, 4 percent), followed by St. Louis, Mo.-Ill. (6,300 jobs, 10 percent); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (6,000 jobs, 4 percent); and Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (5,300 jobs, 4 percent). Cheyenne, Wyo. had the highest percentage gain (42 percent, 1,300 jobs), followed by Bay City, Mich. (27 percent, 300 jobs); Lake Charles, La. (24 percent, 3,700 jobs); and Gary, Ind. (18 percent, 2,600 jobs).

Construction employment declined in 48 metro areas from March 2021 and was stagnant in 42 areas. New York City lost the most jobs (-3,400 or -2 percent), followed by Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. (-2,400 jobs, -3 percent) and Pittsburgh, Pa. (-1,900 jobs, -3 percent). The largest percentage declines were in Danville, Ill. (-17 percent, -100 jobs); Charleston, W.Va. (-10 percent, -700 jobs); San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, Calif. (-8 percent, -800 jobs); and Tuscaloosa, Ala. (-8 percent, -500 jobs).

Association officials said that too few young adults and high school students are exposed to the many high-paying opportunities that exist within the construction industry. The association has launched a range of efforts, including a digital advertising recruiting campaign, to reach more potential workers. They also urged federal officials to boost funding for career and technical education programs to expose more future workers to construction career opportunities.

“Many people out there would love to make a good living while working with their hands and technology to build amazing projects,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “But too few schools are willing to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy that the only path to success is college.”

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