Construction employment increased in five out of 12 Wisconsin metropolitan areas from May 2016 to May 2017, stayed the same in four and decreased in three, the Associated General Contractors of America reported Tuesday.
Drawing on seasonally adjusted federal data, the AGC reported that construction employment increased in the Sheboygan, Madison, Green Bay, Fond du Lac and Appleton areas in that year-long period. The biggest rise was seen in the Madison area, which gained 1,500 jobs, an increase of 9 percent.
Nationally, those areas were not alone in seeing increases. All told, 243 out of 358 metropolitan areas in the U.S. added construction jobs from May 2016 to May 2017.
AGC officials said the gains were remarkable not least because they came amid a persistent labor shortage in the industry.
“Construction employment gains in many parts of the country likely would have been even more robust if it were easier for most firms to find qualified workers,” said Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist. “As a result of tight labor market conditions, many firms are opting to invest more in training, find ways to become more efficient or use new techniques like off-site prefabrication or robotics to reduce labor needs.”
Separately on Tuesday, another trade association – the Associated Builders and Contractors – reported that the industry’s unemployment rate was 5.3 percent in May. Although that was up 0.1 percent from a year ago, it was still the third lowest industry-unemployment rate recorded for the month of May.
The ABC calculates the construction unemployment rate primarily by taking into account people who were last employed in the trades and are now looking for work.