MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Construction firms in Alabama are having trouble filing hourly craft positions.

Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America's survey suggest that 75 percent of companies said they are having a hard time filling positions, Al.com reported . The struggle for companies comes at a time when construction industry job openings in recent months have been at their highest since 2000.

The number of unemployed workers with recent construction experience has fallen to record lows.

Officials say shortages could pose a tremendous risk to future economic growth. The survey suggests the problem is larger than it was a year ago in Alabama.

"Labor shortages in the construction industry remain significant and widespread," said Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist. "The best way to encourage continued economic growth, make it easier to rebuild aging infrastructure and place more young adults into high-paying careers is to address construction workforce shortages."

Last year, 70 percent of firms in Alabama said they were having trouble filling those positions. More than 50 percent of companies said they had a harder time this year filling slots for carpenters, laborers, masons, bricklayers, equipment operators, iron workers, roofers, plumbers and painters.

About 57 percent of companies surveyed said they expect it could be harder over the next year.

Alabama's commercial construction industry is a $12 billion business, employing almost 156,000 people full-time and generating a payroll of more than $6 billion a year.

Alabama isn't the only state struggle to fill up construction jobs.

Eighty percent of construction firms report the same need for those positions in nationally.