Construction jobs grow in Prov. metro, but lag much of U.S.
A MODEST YEAR-OVER-YEAR increase in construction employment in July has not caused labor shortages in Rhode Island like the ones being experienced in other parts of the country. Here, construction on the Providence Viaduct proceeds in July.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Providence-Fall River-Warwick metro area added 500 construction jobs in July when compared with July 2013, a 2.3 percent gain for a total of 22,400, according to non-seasonally adjusted figures published by the Associated General Contractors of America Wednesday.
The increase placed the region at No. 190 out of 223 metros that added construction jobs over the 12-month period. At the same time, 72 metros saw construction job declines, while 44 remained the same.
The broad increase in construction employment is actually creating labor shortages in parts of the United States, although not in the Northeast, according to the trade group. In fact, based on a survey the AGC conducted with SmartBrief, a custom content provider, 25 percent of respondents said they had to turn down work because of a lack of workers.
In addition, 70 percent of respondents said that they were having to pay more for skilled labor than a year ago, with 13 percent saying the premium was “significant.” The positions reported to be in short supply included qualified laborers, estimators, electricians, plumbers and ironworkers.
“These expanding labor shortages threaten to impact construction schedules as firms struggle to find enough qualified workers,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.
Some New England metro areas were among the leaders in construction employment growth in July, with the Leominster-Fitchburg-Gardner, Mass., area ranking No. 11, with a gain of 16 percent to 2,200 and New Bedford ranking No. 15, with a 15 percent gain to 3,100 construction jobs. By comparison, Waterbury, Conn., showed a 4 percent decline in construction employment with a drop of 100 to 2,500.
The largest percentage job gain was recorded in the Lake Charles, La., metro, with 27 percent, or 2,900 jobs. The largest job loss by percentage came in Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.Va., which saw a drop of 22 percent, or 400 jobs.