Few construction firms looking to hire this year, according to report

More Texas general contracting companies expect the construction market to grow this year as some firms plan to start hiring in the state and nationwide, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The 2014 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook report of the Associated General Contractors of America has an upbeat outlook, with some firms indicating worker shortages in the skilled crafts. More than 800 firms nationwide were surveyed for the report.

“Contractors are more optimistic about 2014 than they have been in a long time,” said Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s chief executive. “While the industry has a long way to go before it returns to the employment and activity levels it experienced in the middle of the last decade, conditions are heading in the right direction.”

In Texas, half of the firms said they’ll likely make no changes in staffing levels this year, but 13 percent said they would hire. That comes off of a strong hiring year in 2013, when 79 percent of the firms said they added employees.

None of the firms said they planned to lay off workers in 2014, and of the firms planning to hire, they expect to add 16 to 25 employees, the report said.

When asked about current workforce challenges, a third of the firms reported having a hard time filling key professional and craft worker positions.

Nationwide, 41 percent of the firms that made no staff changes last year said they will expand this year, the report said.