Best Cities for Construction Jobs

Construction workers remain in high demand across the United States. Although current employment is still generally below February 2020’s peak level, thousands of job openings remain unfilled. Furthermore, job growth has been much better in certain states and cities, creating ample opportunity for those seeking to build a great career in construction.Best cities for construction work

“While construction activity has rebounded from pandemic lows in many metros, the recovery is fragile,” cautions Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). “Extreme production and delivery delays, along with continuing high materials costs, may lead to project cancellations and postponements that cut into job gains.”

Nonetheless, Simonson’s analysis of government data identifies some positive trends. In fact, 256 of 358 metro areas saw construction employment increases from August 2020 to August 2021. The top job-gaining cities have been:

  • San Diego – 8,900 jobs, 11%
  • Sacramento – 8,600 jobs, 12%
  • Pittsburgh – 7,200 jobs, 12%
  • Boston – 6,300 jobs, 9%
  • Louis – 6,300 jobs, 9%

While job growth is an important factor to consider, jobseekers should also look at a variety of other factors when deciding where they might like to live and work:

  • Total construction employment
  • Construction wages
  • Construction activity
  • Overall economic vitality
  • Population

Which metro areas have the most jobs?

construction employment by stateWhen gauging local construction activity, a good indicator for jobseekers is employment level.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the following metropolitan areas have the highest construction employment levels:

  • New York – 296,310
  • Los Angeles – 193,300
  • Houston – 175,270
  • Dallas – 143,680
  • Chicago – 134,330
  • Washington, D.C. – 113,850
  • Miami – 103,950
  • Phoenix – 103,640
  • San Francisco – 94,320
  • Seattle – 91,730
  • Boston – 89,220
  • Philadelphia – 87,660
  • Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario, CA – 83,650
  • Atlanta – 81,110
  • Denver – 71,990

For those with construction industry experience that are qualified to seek a management position, BLS data suggests that the following metro areas offer the most opportunity for construction managers:

  • Houston – 12,510
  • Dallas – 12,120
  • New York – 11,510
  • Los Angeles – 10,620
  • Chicago – 9,540
  • Denver – 7,100
  • Miami – 6,990
  • Washington, D.C. – 6,350
  • Atlanta – 6,290
  • Boston – 5,680

Which metro areas pay the best?

In addition to seeking out locations with strong job markets, aspiring construction professionals should also think about which markets pay above-average wages.

BLS data suggests that the average hourly wage for a “construction and extraction” worker is $25.93, up nearly $4/hour over the past three years. If able to land a job in the right city, a construction worker can really make some serious money. BLS data shows that the following metro areas are the highest-paying for construction workers:

  • San Francisco – $37.86
  • Kankakee, IL – $36.00
  • Honolulu – $35.96
  • Chicago – $35.68
  • Trenton, NJ – $35.26
  • Seattle – $34.54
  • Mount Vernon/Anacortes, WA – $34.41
  • New York – $34.05
  • San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA – $33.86
  • Fairbanks, AK – $33.52
  • Boston – $33.51
  • Anchorage, AK – $33.35
  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA – $33.31
  • Atlantic City/Hammonton, NJ – $33.26
  • Rockford, IL – $33.19

Which metro areas have the most population?

metro areas with most constructionAn important driver of construction activity is population. The larger the population and the faster it is growing, the more need for investment in housing and infrastructure.

U.S. Census Bureau data says the following cities are the most populous (numbers depicted in millions):

  • New York – 8.337
  • Los Angeles – 3.979
  • Chicago – 2.694
  • Houston – 2.320
  • Phoenix – 1.681
  • Philadelphia – 1.584
  • San Antonio – 1.547
  • San Diego – 1.424
  • Dallas – 1.343
  • San Jose, CA – 1.022

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the following cities saw the most population growth from 2010-2020:

  • Leander, TX – 136% to 62,608
  • Herriman, UT – 136% to 51,348
  • Little Elm, TX – 105% to 53,126
  • Queen Creek, AZ – 93% to 50,890
  • Kirkland, WA – 91% to 93,010
  • West Lafayette, IN – 72% to 50,996
  • Frisco, TX – 71% to 200,490
  • Georgetown, TX – 68% to 79,604
  • Cedar Park, TX – 62% to 79,462
  • Conroe, TX – 62% to 91,079

And the 10 best BIG CITIES for construction jobs are …

Based on a combination of the criteria analyzed above, the following large U.S. cities are the best to begin building a rewarding career in construction:

  1. New York
  2. Chicago
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Houston
  5. San Francisco
  6. Seattle
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Dallas
  9. Phoenix
  10. Boston

Don’t forget about the SMALLER CITIES

Keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of cities in the U.S. are not major metro areas. Yet, these cities often boast vibrant economies and offer a lot of appeal to many people looking for a great place to live and work.

BLS says the following non-metropolitan areas have the highest employment of construction workers:

  • Eastern New Mexico – 18,150
  • West North Dakota – 17,850
  • West Texas – 17,010
  • Kansas non-metro – 16,410
  • North Texas – 15,380
  • North Northeastern Ohio – 14,800
  • Hill Country Region of Texas – 14,180
  • Coastal Plains Region of Texas – 12,110
  • Nevada non-metro – 12,070
  • Piedmont North Carolina – 11,840
  • Northwest Colorado – 11,470
  • Northern West Virginia – 11,100
  • Balance of Lower Peninsula of Michigan – 10,510
  • Southeast Coastal North Carolina – 10,470
  • Western Wyoming – 10,210

best small cities for constructionBLS says the following non-metropolitan areas are the top-paying for construction workers:

  • Hawaii/Kauai – $33.24
  • Alaska – $30.85
  • West North Dakota – $28.99
  • Northwest Illinois – $28.84
  • Massachusetts – $28.75
  • North Coast Region of California – $28.66
  • Northeast Minnesota – $28.10
  • East-Central Montana – $27.91
  • Western Washington – $27.86
  • Eastern Sierra-Mother Lode Region of California – $27.68
  • North Valley-Northern Mountains Region of California – $27.59
  • Eastern Washington – $27.46
  • Nevada – $27.07
  • Eastern Wyoming – $26.97
  • Western Wyoming – $26.83

Pick a great state to live and work

Construction industry jobseekers can also start their career search by simply identifying those states with the greatest prospects for a rewarding construction career.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in spring 2020, several states have clawed back job losses, returning to healthy construction industry employment levels by fall 2021. Ten states have really stood out based on their combination of employment levels, average wages, construction activity and population growth. 
 
Read Next: Best States for Construction Jobs

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