Construction employment increased in 243 of 358 metropolitan areas between January 2015 and January 2016, according to analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). Employment in the sector was unchanged in 43 areas and declined in 72.

Courtesy of Associated General Contractors of America
Courtesy of Associated General Contractors of America

“Demand in most parts of the country is robust and construction employment is growing in more than two-thirds of all metro areas,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “However, the downturn in energy prices appears to be having a significant impact on construction demand in a number of formerly strong markets.”

Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. added the most construction jobs during the past year (12,400 jobs, 15 percent). Other metro areas adding a large number of jobs include Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (11,060 jobs, 6 percent), Orange-Rockland-Westchester, N.Y. (7,700 jobs, 22 percent) and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Ga. (7,600 jobs, 7 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in El Centro, Calif. (61 percent, 1,100 jobs), Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio (33 percent, 500 jobs) and Monroe, Mich. (30 percent, 600 jobs).

The largest job losses from January 2015 to January 2016 were in Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (-4,700 jobs, -6 percent), followed by Odessa, Texas (-3,800 jobs, -19 percent), Midland, Texas (-3,500 jobs, -12 percent) and Greeley, Colo. (-3,100 jobs, -16 percent). The largest percentage declines for the past year were in Odessa, Greeley, Victoria, Texas (-14 percent, -900 jobs) and Huntington-Ashland, W.V.-Ky.-Ohio (-14 percent, -1,100 jobs).

“The top markets are very diverse economically and geographically,” says Simonson. “Even Houston added an impressive number of jobs despite the oil-drilling slump because of strong demand for office, medical, residential and infrastructure projects.”