Construction employment in the Greater Boston area in January was up by 2.69 percent over January 2018.

According to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau and Associated General Contractors of America, 107,600 people were employed in the construction, mining and logging fields in the Greater Boston area in January 2018. That number rose to 110,500 by January of this year. The number of people employed in the construction industry is frequently taken as an indicator of the health of a local economy.

Nationally, construction employment grew in 275, or 76 percent, out of 358 metro areas between January 2018 and January 2019, declined in 39 (11 percent) and was unchanged in 44. Association officials said demand for construction in most parts of the country appears to be outstripping the supply of qualified workers to hire.

“While construction hiring remained very widespread through January, industry employment gains nationally slowed in February – possibly an indication that the pool of qualified workers has dried up in many markets,” Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement. “It will be hard to match this level of employment gains when the unemployment rate is setting new lows in much of the nation and job openings in construction are at all-time highs.”

Association officials said that the number of unemployed construction workers is at a series low and urged federal officials to boost investments in career and technical education. They warned that firms may not be able to keep pace with growing demand for construction unless more young adults are exposed to, and consider pursuing, high-paying careers in construction.

“Contractors in most parts of the country are having a hard time finding enough qualified workers to keep pace with strong, and growing, demand for construction,” CEO Stephen E. Sandherr said in a statement. “Expanding the number of high school programs that expose students to the fact construction is a rewarding career path will put more young adults into high-paying construction jobs.”

The Massachusetts statistics showed construction employment stayed steady in Pittsfield at 1,900, while the number of people in the Springfield area working in the industry grew by 5 percent to 10,700. Within Greater Boston, the largest number of people joining the construction workforce came from the inner core areas.

Construction Employment Up in Boston Area Year Over Year

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 1 min