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Cities With the Biggest Increase in Construction Jobs


Cities With the Biggest Increase in Construction Jobs

While the potential for trillions of dollars of new infrastructure spending looms on the horizon, America’s construction industry is struggling to even keep pace with current demand for new homes, businesses, roads, and bridges. A shortage of supplies and employees has created ongoing challenges for construction firms and their customers.

“The home building industry faces a major shortage of skilled workers. This persistent challenge endangers the affordability and availability of housing and hinders a robust economic recovery,” said Ed Brady, president and CEO of the Home Builders Institute (HBI), which recently released a report detailing the extent of the worker shortage. At the start of 2021, 60% of builders were experiencing a labor shortage, and the industry was in need of more than 300,000 additional workers, according to HBI. Even more recently, the trade association Associated Builders and Contractors estimated 430,000 additional workers would need to be hired in 2021.

While the construction labor shortage has been exacerbated by recent economic conditions, it is a trend that predates the COVID-19 pandemic. The longer-term issue stems from a decades-long decline in trade education and a lack of interest among younger workers, many of whom perceive employment in the construction industry as a last resort.

The construction labor shortage is most severe for framing crews and carpenters, where about 25% of firms reported a serious shortage and nearly another 50% reported moderate labor shortages, the HBI report noted. Other trades facing significant labor shortages included bricklayers, masons, concrete workers, painters, and plumbers.

Despite short- and long-term labor shortages at the national level, states where population growth has been hottest are also where construction hiring has boomed in recent years. From 2015 to 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded about 35% growth in construction employment in Idaho and Nevada, as well as about 30% growth in Florida, Arizona, Oregon, and North Carolina. In contrast, states in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions have seen construction jobs stagnate or even decline over the past five years.

To find which metropolitan areas have added the most construction jobs over the same time period, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed BLS data between 2015 and 2020, calculated the percentage change in construction employment, and ranked all metros of 100,000 residents or more based on that growth.

Here are the large metropolitan areas that added the most construction jobs over the past five years.

Metro Rank   Percentage change in construction employment (2015–2020) Percentage change in total employment (2015–2020) Total change in construction employment (2015–2020) Total construction employment (2020) Median annual wage for construction workers (2020)


Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA    1     48.8% 10.7% 17,510 53,370 $55,250
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC    2     37.9% 8.7% 15,270 55,580 $41,270
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV    3     34.1% No significant change 13,320 52,340 $49,140
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ    4     33.3% 12.4% 25,900 103,640 $47,030
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL    5     32.2% 7.2% 14,570 59,860 $38,870
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN    6     31.3% 9.3% 8,210 34,470 $41,810
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA    7     30.9% 4.9% 13,360 56,580 $59,390
Jacksonville, FL    8     29.8% 9.8% 7,800 33,970 $38,450
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA    9     29.6% 13.7% 19,100 83,650 $52,580
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL    10     28.5% 3.0% 23,080 103,950 $41,440
Salt Lake City, UT    11     27.2% 10.4% 8,370 39,130 $48,060
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL    12     25.5% 6.6% 11,850 58,230 $39,670
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI    13     24.2% No significant change 3,770 19,320 $46,190
Raleigh, NC    14     22.1% 10.1% 5,100 28,180 $43,340
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN    15     20.1% 2.7% 6,950 41,580 $48,360
United States    –     8.4% 0.9% 460,010 5,937,830 $48,610


For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website:


How To Protect Yourself From Any Potential Dangers In The Construction Zone

Construction projects are quite important for maintaining and reforming our infrastructure and roadways. However, construction site workers are exposed to a high risk of accidents due to perilous working conditions. They are required to use heavy tools and machinery, work at dangerous heights, and in radioactive or hazardous environments. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, workplace fatalities increased by 11% between 2018 and 2019, and most of these accidents involved vehicle crashes in construction zones. If you work at a construction site and want to take the right measures to protect yourself, follow these essential steps.

Causes Of Construction Zone Accidents

Work zone accidents may be a result of drivers speeding or making sudden lane shifts while passing by the construction zone. When there are unexpected lane shifts, vehicles often swerve to avoid collisions, and this leads to more accidents near construction sites.  Large trucks are less stable which can cause them to lose balance and sway away from the road, causing cargo spills. Cargo spills and road accidents expose workers to dangerous hazards at work. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, there were approximately 18,000 truck accidents in construction areas, and 228 fatalities in 2018 as a result of these construction site crashes. Construction site accidents may also involve:

-Falling from heights

-Lifting heavy objects and straining the spine in the process

-Slipping when working on uneven or slippery surfaces

-Tripping over objects or cables

-Being distracted by loud noise and losing focus

-Electric shocks when handling live wires

Report As Soon As Possible

You need to report the accident to the employer as soon as it occurs. Take photos of your injury and the damage caused and show them to your employer. This can aid you in court and can help document the accident scene before the evidence is lost.

Seek Legal Assistance

Contacting a professional attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve and protect your rights. A lawyer will provide support and guide you through the legal process after a workplace accident occurs. If you’ve been injured in a work zone accident, you deserve proper compensation for your losses and injuries. For instance, in a highway construction zone accident, the driver or trucking company should be held liable. A lawyer will negotiate on your behalf and make claims against the other party’s insurance company.

Make Sure Your Employer Is Following Health and Safety Law

Your employer should also be held responsible for the safety of their workers during construction projects. They have to take protective measures that include:

-Putting up a warning sign with bright flaggers to alarm drivers that this is a designated work zone

-Alerting drivers when there’s a lane shift near the work zone

-Placing barriers between the road and construction area

-Using lights to divert vehicles and trucks away from the work zone

-Safe-proofing the work area

-Providing safety gear

-Training employees to follow all safety procedures

If they fail to foster adequate health and safety conditions on construction sites, they should also be questioned and held liable. Work accident attorneys assist workers in recovering maximum compensation for their losses including lost wages, medical bills, physiotherapy, etc.

Wear Your Protective Gear At All Times

Workers should wear their protective gear at all times when they’re working in construction zones. Make sure your safety boots are high enough and provide the perfect grip to guard your feet. Never forget to wear a hard hat to protect your skull, as well as vests that are made of non-conducting materials. Eye and face protection should be worn all day to avoid harmful chemicals, poisonous gases, vapors, debris, loose particles, and metal from entering your eyes and causing serious injuries and infections when you’re chipping or welding materials.

Avoid Unfamiliar Tools

To reduce the chances of accidents, don’t work with equipment that you haven’t used before. If a machine isn’t working, don’t try to fix it or tamper with it. Only use the tools that you were trained to use because a single mistake can cost you a lot. If you choose to handle unfamiliar tools and something goes wrong, your employer may claim that you are the one responsible for the accident, and can refuse to offer any compensation.

Working in construction zones can be dangerous and stressful. It is of utmost importance that you avoid all potential hazards and learn how to prevent them. You also need to know your rights at work, and that you should be protected. If you keep these steps in mind and follow all safety precautions, you will be at a much lower risk of accidents and injuries.


Exploring Near and Long-Term Business Immigration Hurdles in the U.S. in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the change in the U.S. Administration under President Biden

UPDATE: This article has been updated to reflect that the Biden administration has formally rescinded the public charge rule, which had required a tremendous amount of documentation regarding income for even the most highly paid employment-based applicants.

Businesses looking to use a variety of work visas in the U.S. will continue to face hurdles well into 2021 as the impact of the pandemic and the change in presidential administration evolves over the next several months.

Former President Donald Trump’s restrictions on the issuance of H-1B visas for professional workers, H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers, J visas for participants in work and student exchanges, and L visas for intracompany transferees were extended until the end of March. President Joe Biden’s administration has signaled it may revoke those sooner, but other priorities may delay immediate action before these restrictions expire anyway. The Biden administration has also put back into place or added to other restrictions impacting business travel into the United States, including requiring a negative COVID-19 test to fly into the U.S. and directing U.S. government agencies to review additional measures to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The coronavirus restrictions are only part of the story though. There continue to be other immigration headaches for businesses that will take longer for Biden to address regardless of the state of the pandemic. These matters include a complicated issue tied to per-country limits on employment-based immigrant visas. It is an example of a thorny issue for the federal government to address and for businesses to navigate until and only if more comprehensive immigration reform is passed.

Near-Term Hurdles for Business – Travel Restrictions

There is no flexibility on one of the latest requirements: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all passengers, including U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and foreign citizens alike, flying into the United States to show a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovering from the coronavirus within the last 90 days. The COVID-19 test needs to have been taken within three calendar days of the flight’s departure. All travelers should review the latest CDC restrictions before undertaking any travel as these requirements change periodically. The CDC also updates its recommendations regarding travel on a regular basis as well. Individuals who fail to comply with these requirements may not be able to board flights or may be turned away at the U.S. border. For foreigners traveling under valid visas or the visa waiver program, a denial or refusal of admission to the U.S. could have significant immigration consequences for future travel to the U.S.

Other travel hurdles may allow for more flexibility in planning. While Biden has either extended or created new restrictions on travel from the 26 Schengen Area countries in Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, China, Iran, and South Africa, qualified applicants may request “National Interest Exception” (NIE) waivers through the Department of State,  the Department of Homeland Security, or through Customs and Border Protection for travelers who already have a valid visa or registration through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). The qualification criteria for such an NIE waiver depends on the region from which the traveler is coming and advance planning is critical.

There are also exceptions for the suspension of issuance of certain work visas referenced earlier, even if Biden does not revoke the implementing proclamation before the end of March. More specifically, the Department of State has issued guidelines clarifying who may be eligible to apply for NIE waivers from these as well, but the consulates have not been consistent in implementing that guidance, so it is still important to review closely whether a case may qualify. Unless an applicant for an H-1B, H-2B, J, or L visa is working in a field that clearly falls within one of the stated exemptions – which are primarily tied to public health, U.S. government work, or businesses deemed within critical infrastructure to the U.S. – it is unlikely that new visas in these categories will be issued until the beginning of April, assuming that the suspension is allowed to expire as planned.

With respect to either type of NIE waiver – whether for the travel restriction or the suspension of issuance of visas in certain categories – one of the other major issues with respect to immigration processing has been the closure or reduced operational capacity of U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas. While some Consulates have remained open for some level of visa processing, most Consulates have closed or operated on significantly reduced capacity since March 2020. This reality has dramatically impacted the ability of foreign national travelers to apply for any visas in their home countries at all, much less to request an NIE waiver.

Some companies have asked if outsourcing can be a solution in the meantime. Outsourcing can be cost efficient with the right partner, but with respect to the immigration restrictions companies may really just be passing on the problem. If the outsourced company is not compliant with U.S. laws, then it and the partner company may face liability. In this case, due diligence and proper contracting with the outsourcing company is key.

While the pandemic continues, the bottom line is that travel in and out of the U.S. will remain restricted. For those travelers who do not need to leave the U.S., remaining in the U.S. is still advised. Individuals outside of the U.S. have a few options to come to the U.S. as business activities start to normalize. Across the board, businesses should carefully consider each case in partnership with immigration attorneys to determine the best route forward and the pros and cons of traveling or applying for immigration benefits in the U.S. or with U.S. Consulates abroad.

Longer-Term Hurdles – Immigration Policy/Regulations

Businesses continue to face certain immigration challenges that are not driven by COVID-19, and these challenges will likely persist beyond the pandemic. There remains a huge, complicated issue that businesses, the White House, and Congress largely want to address but come at from different angles: the limits on how many immigrant visas we allow from each country and in each preference category. The tech industry wants to eliminate these limits right away, as they have a disproportionate share of Indian and Chinese immigrants stuck on waiting lists of up to 15 years to obtain permanent residency. Tech companies argue the government should instead prioritize the oldest cases.

But if that happens, many in the manufacturing industry will cry foul because European and South American workers would essentially trade places on the waiting list with Indian and Chinese workers. Manufacturers and other companies that rely on the European and South American workers would argue that is not fair without an interim fix to address the short-term ability for these workers to stay while the permanent residency cases are pending. More specifically, many of the Indian and Chinese workers are on H-1B visas that can usually be renewed indefinitely while they await a decision on their green cards. As a result, the wait list does not prevent them from continuing to work in the U.S.

On the other hand, many Europeans are on L visas, which can only be extended for up to five- or seven-years total. The E visa is also not an ideal option because only certain countries will qualify, and even so, the E visa does not clearly allow someone to pursue permanent residency concurrently. In the end, Germans for example who are already working at a U.S. manufacturing facility in South Carolina and were on track to receive a green card in three years may suddenly have to wait 10 years – and they can’t keep working in the U.S. after their visas expire.

Those are just a few of the competing priorities lawmakers and the Biden administration will face in addressing per-country limits and visa caps on immigrant visas. The road to changing those limits runs through Congress, so it will be important for businesses to review potential legislation as it is drafted and offer their perspective to their representatives. Because of both the complexity of this issue and the other priorities Congress is currently focused on, businesses are likely safe to continue planning for their near-to-medium-term personnel needs under the current system.


There remains a complex and restrictive set of policies impacting companies’ ability to hire or transfer workers in the U.S.  Both near- and long-term, it can be valuable to partner with immigration attorneys to determine how best to navigate this evolving landscape and adjust workforce strategy as policies change.


Elizabeth Gibbes is an attorney at Parker Poe in Charleston, South Carolina, who focuses on international business and immigration. She can be reached at



Skills of the Trade: Asphalt Technologists Wanted

There are 2.2 million miles of roads and highways that criss-cross the United States. Chances are that you’ve never thought about the blacktop asphalt beneath your wheels as you drive across the country, the state or to your local grocery store.

Asphalt is, however, the obsession of Allen Miller, who works at the Cedar Mountain Stone Corporation in Culpeper, Virginia, as one of five apprentices learning industrial maintenance and the emerging discipline of “asphalt technology.” Under the tutelage of a mentor at the company, Miller spends his days learning how to operate the asphalt plant that operates 24-7 at Cedar Mountain’s vast quarry during construction season; how to formulate asphalt so that it can withstand 20 years of freezes, thaws and the weight of thousands of tractor-trailers every day, and how to test it so that the quality of the state’s roadways passes the standards of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

“We have to have certain gradations of stone, the right amount of dust, and not too much asphalt binder in it,” said Ed Dalrymple, Miller’s boss and the fourth-generation owner of Cedar Mountain Stone Corporation. “If we have all of that in the right proportions, the road’s going to last.” Moreover, under VDOT’s pay-for-performance requirements, well-built roads earn a bonus, while inferior blacktop will cost the company penalties. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are potentially at stake, which means Dalrymple is counting on Miller to do his job right. On any given day, you might see Miller out drilling core samples from freshly laid road beds, watching the computerized control panels monitoring the moisture levels of asphalt being mixed at the plant or taking 20-pound samples of asphalt to the on-site laboratory for analysis.

More Than Half of New Jobs Are “Middle-Skill” Jobs

Miller’s job may sound obscure, but it is one of millions of so-called “middle-skill” jobs – well-paying jobs that require post-secondary education and credentials but not a four-year degree – that have remained steadily in demand among employers. According to the National Skills Coalition, 52 percent of job openings are “middle skill” jobs, in fields as varied as construction, health care, information technology and a host of other fields.

Globalization and the rise of technologies such as automation have ushered in myriad anxieties about worker displacement, stagnant wages, and the loss of low-skilled jobs. The steady presence of middle-skill jobs could prove a potent buffer against these worries. For one thing, many middle-skill positions are in fields that cannot be easily outsourced or automated, such as construction, or where demand is growing, such as health care, thanks to the aging of the Baby Boom generation.

TradeVistas | More Than Half of New Jobs Are “Middle-Skill” Jobs

But Less than Half of U.S. Workers are Trained Up to the Middle Level

Moreover, there is a shortage of workers with the right skills and training to fill all of the middle skill opportunities currently available. Despite the prominence of middle-skill jobs as a share of the economy, the National Skills Coalition also reports that just 43 percent of U.S. workers are trained up to the middle level. This means that thousands of U.S. workers are potentially missing out on opportunities to earn good wages and move ahead in their careers. At the same time, employers are losing opportunities to grow their businesses.

Promoting middle-skill jobs – such as through apprenticeships, dual enrollment at high schools and community colleges and employer-sponsored training – would not only help businesses find the workers they need, it would create new opportunities for workers to get ahead without requiring the time and financial commitment of a four-year degree that ultimately may or may not have market value. The U.S. federal government could also help create millions of new middle-skill jobs by passing an infrastructure bill, which President Donald Trump and both political parties agree should be a top priority. According to a 2017 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, a $1 trillion investment in infrastructure could create as many as 11 million jobs over the next 10 years while creating high demand for workers such as welders, “concrete strength-testing technicians,” construction managers, and construction health and safety technicians – all jobs that require a post-secondary credential but not necessarily a four-year degree.

Which takes us back to Allen Miller.

At the end of his four-year apprenticeship with Cedar Mountain Stone, Miller will hold a journeyman’s license in industrial maintenance as well as an associate’s degree from nearby Germanna Community College. In addition, he’ll hold a certificate in “asphalt technology” issued by the Virginia Asphalt Association, the trade association for the state’s road construction industry. He could stay at Cedar Mountain Stone or go elsewhere. Either way, he is destined to make a comfortable living that approaches six figures. He will also achieve this without a cent in student loans. “I’m going to be done with no debt, and I’m getting valuable on the job training along the way,” he said. “It’s working out great for me.”

As policymakers look for strategies to help the U.S. workforce adapt to the global economy, Allen Miller might be the model for the kind of worker the U.S. economy needs more of to succeed.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of July 2020. Since the original publication of this article, Allen received an Associate’s Degree from Germanna Community College in December 2019. He continues to work for Cedar Mountain Stone and is teaching night classes in asphalt technology to the next generation of apprentices.


Anne Kim

Anne Kim is a contributing editor to Washington Monthly and the author of Abandoned: America’s Lost Youth and the Crisis of Disconnection, forthcoming in 2020 from the New Press. Her writings on economic opportunity, social policy, and higher education have appeared in numerous national outlets, including the Washington Monthly, the Washington Post, Governing and, among others. She is a veteran of the think tanks the Progressive Policy Institute and Third Way as well as of Capitol Hill, where she worked for Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN). Anne has a law degree from Duke University and a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

personal protective equipment

Personal Protective Equipment – The Product of Choice for Frontline Personnel

The globe has been observing a stringent rise in the count of industrial fatalities lately. In fact, as per the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Finland, more than 7,500 people die every year across some of the major industries including manufacturing, construction, and others primarily due to the negligence of PPE kits while working. Given the rising accidental count, PPE has now become more of a necessity across the aforementioned sectors, enabling the personal protective equipment industry to gain further prominence in recent years.

This has undeniably compelled personal protective equipment companies to focus on designing exceptional and superior protective wear with a view to ensuring maximum safety for workers.

However, in the midst of the ongoing pandemic situation, the global PPE industry has been witnessing a dramatic revolution in the global business sphere. Having originated from the Wuhan province of China, COVID -19, apart from claiming millions of lives, has brought about a major halt in vivid businesses in turn slowing down the economy of various countries. Amid this critical situation, the demand for PPE has, however, massively increased in order to offer protection to frontline warriors including the workers and medical staff. Not just the healthcare sector, but the thriving polymer industry is also leveraging the benefits of rising PPE demand, as the need for NBR latex gloves and similar PPE has exhibited a prolific upsurge.

Why PPE?

PPE, as of today, stands as a firm line of defense against some of the serious injuries that occur at workplaces, and while considering the current healthcare situation, it stands as a pivotal form of cross-contamination barrier between two or more people. That said, it is important that the credibility factor of this equipment remain unquestioned, for maintain the safety standards.

While citing an instance illustrating the increased proactiveness of personal protective equipment companies during the peak COVID season, it is crucial to state the mention of Medtronic- a pioneer in medical device production. Recently, the company donated personal protective equipment worth USD 1 million to a relief organization- International Medical Corps- in an effort to support its ongoing coronavirus response efforts in Puerto Rico and the continental United States. As per close officials, the donation covers about 408,000 KN95 respirators and more than 1.1 million surgical masks, which are being distributed to more than 15 hospitals and healthcare facilities across the hot spot zones.

The aforementioned is just one example of initiatives that are revolutionizing the PPE industry sphere. Below listed are some of the recent developmental trends that are fueling the growth scope of the PPE market.

PPE vending machines in rail stations- for safe and distant commuting

Considering the health risk for day-to-day commuters, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has reportedly announced its plans of setting up PPE vending machines at some of its rail stations to ensure maximum commuter safety, given the burgeoning COVID-19 cases in the city. The machines are approved by the CTA’s board and is deemed to contain PPE including disposable face masks, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and sanitizing wipes and considered to be pocket friendly for the people, ranging from $3.87 to $10.

Such measures are anticipated to stand as an exemplary model for other countries and states who have been brainstorming into the ways of making traveling easy and risk-free for its people.

An internship for COVID-19 PPE production?

Innovation and internship programs have been the center of attraction for college as well as school-going champs, in an attempt to gain practical knowledge on the field. However, the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic has slashed on some emerging dreams. Nevertheless, with more than 400,000 COVID cases in the country, the State University of New York has launched a grant program that gives the students and faculty a chance to develop innovative alternatives to PPE for the city’s frontline warriors.

Named SUNY Prepare Innovative and Internship Program, the internship would offer USD 10,000 for faculty and students and is claimed to be open for all SUNY state-operated and Community College campuses. This initiative would not only bridge the demand-supply gap but would offer the student an opportunity to explore the world of combating the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Increased demand for lighter PPE

Personal protective equipment, although offering optimum safety and security from unwanted chemical spills, infection control, and other accidents, are infamous for heavyweight and suffocation they create. This has brought about a surge in demand for lighter protection, particularly across the industries that make use of powered air-purifying respirators. Various studies claim that a lot of existing PAPRs on the market are incredibly heavy and their design lacks even weight distribution, leading to strains and aches on operators. Since more and more workforces are tuning to heavy PPE today, lightweight PPE structure is emerging as an important design component to deliver on.

With this, considering the ongoing COVID-19 chaos, the healthcare sector is set to emerge as a prime revenue source for all PPE kit suppliers today. This leaves the public to ponder over: With the world currently being in turmoil due to novel coronavirus pandemic, will personal protective equipment emerge as a first line of defense?