One-Third of Metro Areas Shed Construction Jobs

December 2nd, 2016 by Editor

Construction employment declined or was stagnant in a third of U.S. metropolitan areas over the last 12 months, according to an analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

“Too many construction firms that build vital infrastructure projects are finding less work to bid on today than just a few years ago,” says Ken Simonson, AGC chief economist. “There is little doubt that many more construction workers would be earning high wages in metro areas around the country if the public sector were investing more in aging infrastructure.”

Construction employment decreased in 73 out of 358 metro areas and was stagnant in 62 areas from October 2015 to October 2016, he notes.

The largest job losses were in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (-9,700 jobs, -4 percent), followed by Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. (-2,400 jobs, -3 percent), Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (-2,100 jobs, -2 percent) and Little Rock, Ark. (-1,800 jobs, -10 percent). The largest percentage declines for the past year were in Decatur, Ill. (-16 percent, -600 jobs); Cheyenne, Wyo. (-13 percent, -500 jobs) and Bloomington, Ill. (-13 percent, -400 jobs).

Construction employment increased in 223 metro areas over the last year. The largest job gains occurred in Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (10,800 jobs, 11 percent) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. (10,800 jobs, 17 percent), followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. (9,900 jobs, 10 percent) and Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. (9,000 jobs, 10 percent). The largest percentage gains were in Boise, Idaho (21 percent, 4,000 jobs) and El Centro, Calif. (21 percent, 600 jobs), followed by Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford and Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev. (16 percent, 8,500 jobs).

Association officials say a new infrastructure investment program under consideration by President-elect Trump that could invest up to $1 trillion has the potential to boost construction employment in many parts of the country.

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