In most metropolitan areas, construction employment has been on the way up over the past year. According to analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America, employment in the industry expanded in 220 metro areas, declined in 70 and was stagnant in 49 between April 2013 and April 2014.
“Construction employment appears to be rebounding in many parts of the country,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Declines in federal spending likely depressed construction employment near Washington, while of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy may be having an impact on construction employment in metro areas in New Jersey.”
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year with 11,100 jobs (10 percent); followed by Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (9,500 jobs, 9 percent); Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, Calif. (8,500 jobs, 11 percent) and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (8,100 jobs, 9 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in El Centro, Calif. (42 percent, 800 jobs); Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.V. (35 percent, 600 jobs); Pascagoula, Miss. (27 percent, 1,500 jobs) and Springfield, Ill. (27 percent, 1,000 jobs).
Meanwhile, Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, Md. saw the largest job loss over the last year (-3,700 jobs, -11 percent); followed by Gary, Ind. (-2,900 jobs, -15 percent); Newark-Union, N.J. (-1,600 jobs, -5 percent) and Bergen-Hudson-Passaic, N.J. (-1,300 jobs, -5 percent). The largest percentage was in Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (-18 percent, -900 jobs); followed by Gary, Ind., Danville, Ill. (-13 percent, -100 jobs) and Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, N.J. (-13 percent, -300 jobs).
El Centro, Calif. experienced the largest percentage increase (23 percent, 500 jobs higher than April 1991) among the 22 metro areas that topped or matched their prior April construction employment highs. Baton Rouge, La. added the most jobs since reaching its prior April peak in 2013 (4,100 jobs, 9 percent). Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (-89,100 jobs, -49 percent) experienced the largest drop in total construction employment compared to its prior April peak in 2006 while Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz. experienced the largest percentage decline compared to its April 2006 peak (-68 percent, -5,300 jobs).