On May 10, 1869, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroad companies met in Promontory Point, Utah, where they drove the Golden Spike. Not only did that act unite the two tracks, but it helped connect the eastern and western United States like never before.
The United States has long been a beacon of industry. Cities with sprawling skyscrapers and a network of interstate highways signal the strength and prowess of American construction.
But these days, industrial growth is ailing. And it’s not for a lack of projects or development. There are several multi-billion-dollar projects in development across the country. For example, Florida is investing billions to reconstruct its highways. New York and Chicago are spending more than $8 billion each to redevelop LaGuardia and O’Hare. California is spending more than $70 billion on a high-speed rail system that will connect San Diego and San Francisco.
Alongside these megaprojects are millions of commercial and residential construction projects that continue to boom with the economic recovery of the 2008 market crash.
With so much government and private spending, why is the construction industry struggling? One of the main issues is that there aren’t enough workers to meet construction demands. Even though spending on construction recovered from the crash, the talent never returned. And it’s a compounding problem because there isn’t enough new talent to replace industry veterans nearing retirement age.
Back in 2018, the Commercial Construction Index surveyed more than 2,700 contractors, construction managers, and builders. 91 percent claimed they were having a difficult or moderately difficult time finding skilled workers.
A year later, the numbers aren’t much better. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are still nearly 200,000 unfilled construction industry jobs nationwide – that’s equivalent to the population of Salt Lake City.
While the shortage is stressful for managers and contractors, it’s great news for those with construction experience. Here are the best cities for those looking for construction jobs.
1. New York
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The massive real-estate development in Manhattan continues to move forward, and New York’s spending on commercial construction is higher than any other city in the United States.
Texas continues to grow. So much so that two of its cities have made the top-five list. The bulk of Dallas’ construction spending is on single-family homes. It’s also spending significant sums on institutions.
Just like Dallas, Houston’s spending is primarily focused on single-family homes. What makes Houston different is that it’s spending more on industrial construction than any other city in the top five.
The nation’s capital is second only to New York in commercial construction spending. Its institutional spending is also quite strong.
5. Los Angeles
Los Angeles also shouldn’t be a surprise. The second most populous city in the United States is bound to have massive construction spending. Los Angeles construction spending is split pretty evenly between commercial, institutional, and single-family and multi-family properties.