D-FW nonetheless lacking 1000’s of building jobs

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North Texas construction sector is still short of nearly 10,000 workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a new report from the Associated General Contractors, as many people are less employed in the Dallas-Fort Worth construction industry compared to February 2020, before the pandemic broke out.

Across the country, employment in construction has declined in more than 90 metropolitan areas compared to the beginning of 2020.

“The devastating job losses in early 2020 and recent material and labor challenges since then have resulted in industrial employment stagnating or lower in nearly a third of the subways this May than it was in February 2020,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist the Builders Association, in the report. “Extreme lead times for the manufacture and delivery of materials, as well as record prices for many items, have resulted in project delays and cancellations that horrify hiring.”

The Dallas area saw 5,800 fewer jobs in construction than in February 2020. In the Fort Worth area, construction employment fell by 4,100.

The Houston area leads the US in construction job losses, down 30,500. According to the Associated General Contractors, there are almost 18,000 fewer construction workers in Midland Odessa.

In the metropolitan areas of the Midwest, including Minneapolis-St. Paul (11,100 positions), Indianapolis (10,900 positions) and Chicago (10,300 positions).

In Dallas-Fort Worth, housing starts rose more than 25% in 2021, but commercial construction remains at lower levels than before the pandemic.

“It is difficult for the construction industry to grow while companies have difficulty paying and sourcing key materials and it is difficult to hire skilled workers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the Builders’ Association. “Federal officials can help the industry and boost the economy by abolishing tariffs, making it easier to secure the supply chain, and investing in human resource development.”

Total employment in the D-FW area increased by 260,000 jobs compared to May 2020, according to the latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the number of jobs in North Texas is still around 150,000 lower than it was before the pandemic.