Construction employment expanded in 211 metro areas, declined in 67 and was stagnant in 61 between November 2012 and November 2013, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released this week by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). AGC officials say the employment gains are encouraging, but caution that future gains are dependent on continued economic growth and new investments in aging domestic infrastructure.
“Construction employment continued to expand in many parts of the country in November, but most areas have a long way to go before reaching prior peak levels,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC chief executive officer. “It will take many more months of strong economic growth and new investments in public infrastructure before many places experience construction employment levels close to their prior peaks.”
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga., added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year (10,500 jobs, 12 percent), followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (9,100 jobs, 8 percent), Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif. (8,200 jobs, 11 percent) and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (6,400 jobs, 12 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.V. (29 percent, 500 jobs), Eau Claire, Wis. (27 percent, 800 jobs), Fargo, N.D. (24 percent, 1,900 jobs) and Pascagoula, Miss. (24 percent, 1,100 jobs).
The largest job losses from November 2012 to November 2013 were in Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky. (-4,000 jobs, -10 percent); followed by Raleigh-Cary, N.C. (-3,100 jobs, -10 percent), Baton Rouge, La. (-2,800 jobs, -6 percent) and Gary, Ind. (-2,300 jobs, -11 percent). The largest percentage declines for the past year were in Modesto, Calif. (-24 percent, -1,500 jobs), Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz. (-14 percent, -300 jobs), Anniston-Oxford, Ala. (-11 percent, -100 jobs), Gary, Ind. and Mobile, Ala. (-11 percent, -1,300 jobs).
Fargo, N.D.-Minn. experienced the largest percentage increase (24 percent) among the 19 cities that hit a new November construction employment high. Corpus Christi, Texas, added the most jobs since reaching its prior November peak in 2012 (3,800 jobs). Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale experienced the largest drop in total construction employment compared to its prior, November 2006, peak (-82,000 jobs) while Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz., experienced the largest percentage decline compared to its November 2005 peak (-76 percent).
“Congress and the administration need to continue working together to find a way to boost economic growth and rebuild our aging infrastructure,” Sandherr adds. “Only by working together will Washington officials be able to help our economy grow and construction employment expand in 2014.”