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Oregon Has Fourth Largest Growth in Construction Jobs in US

Oregon, Associated General Contractors of America, Portland, construction jobs
Photo by Joe Holland on Unsplash

By The Registry Staff

Oregon’s construction industry is growing. According to the Associated General Contractors of America (ACG), Oregon secured the fourth position nationwide for its growth in construction employment, welcoming 8,000 new workers from May 2022 to May 2023. This surge translated to a 7 percent increase compared to the previous year, making it the third-highest percentage growth among all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The construction boom in Oregon is encouraging news for government officials, including Governor Tina Kotek, who aims to significantly boost homebuilding in the state. As State Economist Josh Lehner has emphasized to Kotek’s recently formed housing production brain trust, there is a pressing need for more construction workers in Oregon to meet the demand for increased housing construction. Unfortunately, the industry has experienced workforce instability since the Great Recession, as the number of new entrants fails to match the rate of retirement among experienced workers, according to a report in the Portland Business Journal.

It is important to note that the figures provided by the AGC do not differentiate between residential and nonresidential construction workers, which is a crucial distinction. In 2022, the average wage for construction workers, in general, was approximately 10 percent higher than the state’s average wage, as reported by the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. However, when analyzed by specialty, a significant wage gap emerges. Nonresidential construction workers earned an average of $86,000 per year, which is 34 percent higher than the state average, while homebuilding workers earned an average of $54,000 per year, representing a 15 percent decrease compared to the state average.

Among the 50 states and the nation’s capital, 42 experienced job growth in the construction sector during the year, with Texas leading in sheer numbers, adding 21,100 jobs, but with a growth rate of only 2.7 percent. Arkansas, on the other hand, achieved the highest percentage growth at 10.2 percent, creating 5,800 new jobs. Employment declined in seven states and remained unchanged in Vermont, as reported by the AGC.