Construction Employment Increases, Remains Below Peak Levels

Construction employment expanded in 175 metro areas, declined in 106 and was stagnant in 58 between February 2013 and February 2014, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Association officials noted, however, that despite the gains construction employment remained below peak levels in all but 19 metro areas.

“It is encouraging that contractors added workers in so many locations despite severe weather that delayed some project starts,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “At the same time, it’s clear that the upturn in construction is far from universal. Activity is flat or declining in many metro areas, while contractors in the hottest locations are having trouble finding skilled workers.”

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year (9,600 jobs, 5 percent), followed by Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif. (8,600 jobs, 12 percent), and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (8,000 jobs, 7 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in Monroe, Mich. (65 percent, 1,300 jobs), El Centro, Calif. (32 percent, 600 jobs); Reno-Sparks, Nev. (31 percent, 2,600 jobs), and Pascagoula, Miss. (26 percent, 1,400 jobs).

The largest job losses from February 2013 to February 2014 were in Gary, Ind. (-4,700 jobs, -25 percent); followed by Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md. (-3,100 jobs, -10 percent); Putnam-Rockland-Westchester, N.Y. (-2,100 jobs, -8 percent) and St. Louis (-1,900 jobs, -4 percent). The largest percentage decline for the past year was also in Gary, followed by Elkhart-Goshen, Ind. (-13 percent, -300 jobs); Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. (-13 percent, -100 jobs); Michigan City-La Porte, Ind. (-13 percent, -200 jobs), and Redding, Calif. (-13 percent, -300 jobs).

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