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Amid labor shortage, industry groups urge government action to boost trades

AGC says a shortage of qualified workers is limiting the economy from adding more jobs.

May 22, 2017 |

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Although the number of construction jobs rose last month to the highest level in the past decade, a shortage of qualified workers likely limited the number of new jobs, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

The AGC and other trade groups urged Congress and the Trump administration to increase funding and provide more flexibility for the Perkins Act, which provides federal funds for career and technical education. They also made a plea for state and local leaders to make it easier for construction firms and local associations to set up regional recruiting and training programs.

Construction labor shortages are worsening in many parts of the country after years of under-investment in career and technical education programs, according to industry groups. Construction employment reached 6,877,000 in April, up 5,000 from March, and up 173,000 or 2.6% from a year ago.

The year-over-year growth rate almost doubled the 1.6% increase in total nonfarm payroll employment, according to an AGC economist.

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