Tag Archives: construction employment

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Valley Has 3rd Highest Increase Of New Jobs As Construction Employment Up In More U.S. Metro Areas

 

Construction employment increased in 191 out of 339 metro areas between June 2012 and June 2013, declined in 97 and was flat in 51, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials welcomed the construction employment gains but cautioned that demand remained spotty amid continued efforts to cut federal investments in vital infrastructure projects, including for clean water systems.

Two metro areas tied for the largest number of new jobs added in the past 12 months: Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. (9,900 jobs, 19%) and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (9,900 jobs, 6%). They were followed closely by Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale (9,600 jobs, 11%) and Los Angeles-Long-Beach-Glendale (9,200 jobs, 8%).

“Although construction activity remains extremely spotty, with strong residential activity offsetting lackluster private nonresidential investment and shrinking public construction spending, workers are being hired in more and more metro areas,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “There is widespread good news for now but the industry remains far below previous employment peaks in most markets.”

The number of metro areas with construction employment increases rose for the fifth consecutive month in June after bottoming out at 146 gainers in January, Simonson noted. The June total of 191 metro areas adding construction jobs was the largest number since March 2012.

The largest percentage gains since June 2012 occurred in Pascagoula, Miss. (33%, 1,500 jobs), followed by Eau Claire, Wis. (31%, 1,000 jobs).

The largest job losses were in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-5,500 jobs, -9%), followed by Northern Virginia (-2,900 jobs, -4%). The steepest percentage declines in construction employment occurred in Rockford, Ill. (-13%, -600 jobs) and Pocatello, Idaho (-13%, -200 jobs). They were followed by Gary, Ind. (-12%, -2,500 jobs) and Yuma (-12%, -300 jobs).

Association officials said that despite growing signs of a construction recovery, the industry still faces challenges, including continued efforts to cut federal investments in infrastructure projects. They noted that a Congressional subcommittee voted last week to cut funding for water and wastewater infrastructure by 75% for next year, from $2.36B in 2013 to $600M in 2014.

“Construction employment is heading in the right direction for now, but demand remains weak and the industry’s recovery is still very fragile,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Beyond the obvious threats to the broader economy, cutting investments in vital infrastructure projects puts some of these new construction jobs at risk.”

 

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Valley Adds Most New Jobs Nationally As Construction Employment Increases In 185 Of 339 Metro Areas

 

It may be hot in the Valley, but that’s nothing compared to the sizzling construction employment market.

Construction employment increased in 185 out of 339 metro areas between May 2012 and May 2013, with the Valley adding the most new jobs, 13,000, for an increase of 15%.

Employment declined in 115 areas and was stagnant in 39, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials said the number of metro areas adding jobs, and the pace at which construction employment is expanding in those metro areas continues to grow.

“It appears that the months-long growth in private sector demand for a host of residential and non-residential construction work is finally translating into significant numbers of new construction jobs in many parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist.

“Even though some metro areas will continue to lose construction jobs, sector employment is likely to continue expanding in most parts of the country for the immediate future.”

Pascagoula, Miss., added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (47%, 2,000 jobs), followed by Eau Claire, Wis. (29%, 900 jobs); Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. (29%, 200 jobs) and Napa, Calif. (25%, 600 jobs).

Behind Metro Phoenix is adding the most new jobs was Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (9,700 jobs, 9%); Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. (9,100 jobs, 18%); Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (8,900 jobs, 5%) and Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (8,800 jobs, 15%).

The largest job losses were in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-3,100 jobs, -5%), followed by Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky. (-2,800 jobs, -7%); Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, Calif. (-2,800 jobs, -7%) and Northern Virginia (-2,600 jobs, -4%). Rockford, Ill. (-18%, -800 jobs) and Steubenville-Weirton, Ohio-W.V. (-18%, -300 jobs) lost the highest percentage.

Association officials said the new, mostly positive, figures were welcome news for a construction industry that bore the brunt of the recent economic downturn. But they cautioned that years of dwindling employment prospects and neglect of vocational and skills-based educational programs have discouraged many potential job seekers from considering careers in construction.

They said contractors in some faster growing metro areas were likely to have a tougher time finding skilled workers if the industry continues to add jobs.

“It is encouraging to see construction employment on the rebound in so many parts of the country,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “We need to make sure, however, that we have education and immigration policies in place that encourage more people to consider high-paying construction careers.”

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CONSTRUCTION EMPLOYMENT INCREASEs BETWEEN APRIL AND MAY AS SECTOR ADDS JOBS IN 32 STATES

Construction employment increased in a majority of states in May, setting all-time highs in Louisiana and North Dakota, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data. Association officials noted that construction demand remains very uneven and urged policy makers to expedite stalled public and private projects.

“The strongest recoveries in construction employment have occurred in states with oil and gas activity, while the steepest construction job losses have occurred in Sunbelt states,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “However, patterns for the past year show that even some lagging states are beginning to add jobs.”

Louisiana added 2,100 construction jobs in May and 11,800 over the past 12 months, topping the previous peak set in November 2008. North Dakota gained 800 jobs in May and 900 jobs in the past year, exceeding the mark set in September 2012.

For the month, 27 states experienced a lift in construction employment, while 20 states and the District of Columbia lost construction jobs. South Dakota had the largest one-month percentage gain (4.1 percent, 800), followed by Vermont (3.7 percent, 500), Arizona (3.6 percent, 4,400), Iowa (3.5 percent, 2,200) and Missouri (3.5 percent, 3,600). Arizona added the largest number of jobs for the month, followed by Ohio (3,900, 2.3 percent), Illinois (3,900, 2.2 percent) and Missouri. Employment was stable in Connecticut, Rhode Island and West Virginia.

Alaska had the steepest drop in construction employment from April to May (-7.8 percent, -1,400), followed by Nevada (-4.2 percent, -2,200). California lost the largest number of jobs between April and May (-8,500, -1.4 percent), followed by Florida (-7,500, -2.1 percent).

The latest job losses in Nevada brought the state’s construction employment to a level 66 percent below the peak set in June 2006. The next-largest drop in employment from peak levels was in Florida, where May 2013 employment was 50 percent below the June 2006 high-water mark. In spite of having added the most jobs of any state last month, Arizona’s construction employment remained 48 percent below its June 2006 peak.

Over the past 12 months, 32 states added construction jobs, 17 states and D.C. lost jobs and Idaho had no change. Texas added the most jobs (39,200, 6.7 percent), closely followed by California (38,500, 6.6 percent). Arizona had the steepest percentage increase (10.4 percent) and third highest total gain (11,900), followed in both categories by Louisiana (9.4 percent, 11,800). Despite its strong one-month job gains, Illinois lost the most jobs over the past year (-6,200, -3.3 percent), followed by North Carolina (-6,000, -3.5 percent). Montana had the highest year-over-year percentage drop (-9.7 percent, -2,300), followed by Rhode Island (-6.3 percent, -1,000).

Association officials said the wide range of job gains and losses show the need to adequately fund infrastructure investments and remove regulatory barriers to private investment. They urged policy makers in Washington to move ahead with overdue reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act and the Keystone XL pipeline, among many other projects. “We need measures that will strengthen the economy and help the construction industry continue to add jobs,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

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Construction Employment, Spending Levels Hit 3-Year High As Firms Add 28,000 Jobs

 

Revised government data issued today show the construction industry is contributing substantially to economic and employment growth, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials noted that construction employment rose for the eighth consecutive month in January, while construction spending in December increased for the ninth month in a row. Both totals were the highest levels in more than three years.

“The new employment data show the industry lost even more jobs in the recession than previously estimated but has added almost 300,000 jobs in the past two years, including nearly 100,000 since September,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Meanwhile, the steady rise in construction spending since last March suggests contractors will be hiring even more workers in the months ahead.”

Construction firms employed 5.731M people in January, a gain of 28,000 from December and 102,000 or 1.8% from a year ago, Simonson noted. The industry unemployment rate, which is not seasonally adjusted and thus is typically high in January, fell from 17.7% in January 2012 to 16.1% last month.

Both residential and nonresidential construction added jobs for the month and year. Residential construction — building and specialty trade contractors — added 14,500 jobs in January and 53,200 (2.6%) over 12 months. Nonresidential construction — building, specialty trade and heavy and civil engineering firms — expanded by 13,700 employees in January and 48,900 (1.4%) over the year-ago level.

Construction put in place totaled $885 billion in December, the most since September 2009 and a pickup of 0.9% from November and 7.8% compared with December 2011. Private residential construction spending jumped 2.2% for the month and 24 percent year-over-year. Private nonresidential spending grew 1.8% and 7.6%, respectively. These increases more than offset a plunge in public construction spending of 1.4% for the month and 5.6% over 12 months.

“We are likely to see continued strong growth in single- and multifamily homebuilding, moderate increases in private nonresidential construction and shrinking public investment levels for the next several months,” Simonson said. “Those trends, in turn, will lead to a steady increase in the number of construction jobs.”

Association officials said the rosy outlook could be undermined if public officials do not begin to increase investment in construction. They urged Congress to avoid an abrupt slowdown in federal funding that would occur if an across-the-board spending sequestration or a government shutdown occurs in March.

“Instead of making short-sighted cuts in programs to provide flood protection and clean water systems, Washington officials need to find a way to address out-of-control entitlement spending,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “And we must continue to give the private sector the kind of stability and certainty it needs to thrive.”

 

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Construction Employment Declines in 160 of 337 Metro Areas

Construction employment declined in 160 out of 337 metropolitan areas between September 2011 and September 2012, increased in 125 and was stagnant in 52, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials said that construction employment in many areas continued to decline as construction activity is put on hold amid uncertainty about federal tax and investment programs and declining public sector demand.

“A lot of project owners appear to be taking a time out until Washington officials can set tax rates for next year and figure out what to do about the planned sequestration cuts,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Few businesses are going to invest in major new projects when they don’t even know what they will be paying in taxes next year or what direction the economy will be heading.”

The largest job losses were in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-6,300 jobs, -12%); followed by Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. (-5,900 jobs, -9%); Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (-5,800 jobs, -6%) and Edison-New Brunswick, N.J. (-4,800 jobs, -13%).

Springfield, Mass.-Conn. (-25%, -2,600 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Jackson, Miss. (-23%, -2,500 jobs); Anchorage, Alaska (-22%, -2,300 jobs) and Lansing-East Lansing, Mich. (-19%, -1,200 jobs).

Pascagoula, Miss. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (31%, 1,500 jobs) followed by Fargo, N.D.-Minn. (17%, 1,300 jobs); Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga. (15%, 1,300 jobs) and El Centro, Calif. (15%, 200 jobs).

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas added the most jobs (12,300 jobs, 7%).

Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (6,000 jobs, 9%); Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. (5,200 jobs, 10%); Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale (4,500 jobs, 5%) and Salt Lake City, Utah (3,600 jobs, 10%).

 

Association officials noted that construction employment would continue to suffer as long as tax and fiscal uncertainty in Washington prompted business and other owners to delay planned projects. They added that while recovery and reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Sandy might prompt temporary spikes in construction employment in some metro areas throughout the northeast, the overall impact was unlikely to significantly alter economic conditions for the construction industry.

 

“We are likely to see localized spikes in construction employment throughout November and the winter as crews are mobilized to rebuild communities damaged by Hurricane Sandy,” said Simonson. “However the overall impact of reconstruction work on construction employment is likely to be minimal, as planned projects in Hurricane damaged communities are put on hold while people rebuild.”

 

Construction Employment

Construction Employment Declines In 165 Of 337 Metro Areas

Construction employment declined in 165 out of 337 metropolitan areas between July 2011 and July 2012, increased in 123 and was stagnant in 49, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials said that the new data comes out as many metro areas continue to struggle with constricting public sector budgets and uneven private sector growth.

“Construction employment is healthy in the handful of areas where private sector demand is on the rebound,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “However, construction employment in most metro areas is suffering from the effects of tepid private sector demand and shrinking public sector construction budgets.”

The largest job losses were in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-6,500 jobs, -5%); followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-6,100 jobs, -12%); Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. (-5,100 jobs, -8%); New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La. (-5,000 jobs, -16%) and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C. (-4,400 jobs, -12%). Springfield, Mass.-Conn. (-28%, -3,000 jobs) lost the highest percentage.

Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Anchorage, Alaska (-23%, -2,500 jobs); Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-17%, -3,600 jobs) and Jackson, Miss. (-16%, -1,800 jobs).

Bakersfield-Delano, Calif., added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (23%, 3,200 jobs) followed by Yuba City, Calif. (18%, 300 jobs); El Centro, Calif. (15%, 200 jobs) and Pascagoula, Miss. (15%, 700 jobs). Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (7,700 jobs, 7%) added the most jobs.

Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale added 5,600 jobs, 7%.

Association officials cautioned that the growth in private sector construction activity taking place in some areas could be undermined by the threat of drastic tax increases next year. They urged Congress and the administration to work together to provide tax certainty while addressing chronic funding challenges for key infrastructure programs.

“Construction employment will suffer a significant blow if Washington gridlocks its way to another recession,” said the association’s chief executive officer, Stephen E. Sandherr. “Setting our fiscal house in order in a way that provides employers with predictable tax rates while allowing for needed infrastructure investments will boost employment in construction and many other sectors.”

Construction Employment

Construction Employment Declines In 31 States In Past Year; Arizona Gains 8,200 Jobs

Construction employment declined in 31 states from July 2011 to July 2012 and in 28 states in the past month, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data.

Arizona bucked the national trend, adding 8,200 jobs during that period and ranking No. 6 in construction jobs gained. It went from 111,800 jobs in July 2011 to 120,000 in July 2012.

Association officials noted that construction employment decreased in the majority of states as public construction funding continues to shrink, offsetting gains in homebuilding and nonresidential construction.

“Public construction cuts in particular are taking their toll on construction employment in many parts of the country,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “With economic growth remaining sluggish, there is a chance construction employment will begin to slip in even more places.”

The economist said that among states losing construction jobs during the past year, Alaska lost the highest percentage (-15.%, -2,200 jobs), followed by Mississippi (-10.8%, -5,300 jobs) and Arkansas (-10.4%, -4,900 jobs). Florida lost the most jobs (-16,900, -5.2%), followed by Illinois (-9,800, -5%) and Missouri (-9,500 jobs, -9.2%).

Simonson noted that 18 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between July 2011 and July 2012, while construction employment remained stagnant for the year in Hawaii. North Dakota added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (16%, 3,800 jobs), followed by D.C. (12.2%, 1,500 jobs) and Nebraska (10%, 4,100 jobs). California added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months (27,300, 5%), followed by Texas (22,900, 4.1%) and Indiana (9,300, 7.8%).

Arkansas had the steepest percentage decline among states that lost construction jobs for the month (-4.1%, -1,800 jobs), followed by Missouri (-3.8%, -3,700 jobs) and Montana (-3.5%, -900 jobs). The largest number of construction job losses in July occurred in Ohio (-4,300, -2.4%), followed by Missouri and New Jersey (-2,700, -2.2%).

Twenty states plus D.C. added construction jobs between June and July, while construction employment was stagnant for the month in Utah and Alaska. The highest percentage gains for the month occurred in Rhode Island (3.8%%, 600 jobs), followed by Hawaii (2.9%, 800 jobs) and West Virginia (2.6%, 900 jobs). New York added the most jobs during the month (2,700 jobs, 0.9%), followed by Indiana (2,400 jobs, 1.9%) and Oregon (1,200, 1.7%).

Association officials cautioned that construction employment would continue to suffer from the impact of ongoing cuts to public construction budgets. Worse, if economic growth slows as businesses worry about future tax uncertainty, private demand for construction is likely to lag. They urged officials in Washington to act quickly to provide employers with tax certainty and enact long-delayed infrastructure measures for water and other systems.

“The longer Washington waits to act on vital tax and infrastructure measures, the more construction workers will lose their jobs,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “The best way to boost employment and help the economy is to invest in basics like clean water and set predictable tax rates.”

Construction Employment

Construction Employment Declines By 1,000 In July As Industry Unemployment Rate Tumbles To 12.3%

Construction employment declined by 1,000 in July even though the industry’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since 2008, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The sector’s unemployment rate has steadily declined since 2009 as hundreds of thousands of out-of-work construction workers have left the industry seeking other opportunities, the association’s economist cautioned.

“Employment levels in the construction industry have remained relatively stagnant for 2-½ years,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The declining unemployment rate has more to do with frustrated job seekers leaving the industry than it does any improvement in demand for construction work.”

Industry employment in July was 1,000 lower than in June and only 5,000, or 0.1 percent, higher than one year earlier, the economist noted. There are now 5.5M construction workers employed across the country. Simonson noted, however, that construction employment patterns have varied among different industry segments.

A booming apartment sector and a revival — at least for now — in single-family homebuilding led to monthly and year-over-year gains in residential construction employment, Simonson noted. He added that total residential construction employment increased by 2,700 or 0.1% for the month and 12,400 (0.6%) compared with July 2011 levels.

Nonresidential construction employment was mixed, reflecting gains in highway and private nonresidential activity that were offset by shrinking public investment in schools and other infrastructure, Simonson continued. He said total nonresidential construction employment edged down by 3,800 (-0.1%) from June to July and 6,900 (-0.2%) over 12 months.

Within the nonresidential category, heavy and civil engineering construction firms added 6,200 workers (0.7%) in July and 10,800 (1.3%) since July 2011. In contrast, nonresidential specialty trade contractors shed 9,500 jobs (-0.5%) for the month and 19,200 (-1.0%) over 12 months. Nonresidential building contractors had mixed results, losing 500 employees (-0.1%) in July and adding 1,500 (0.2%) over the year.

The 12.3% unemployment rate for former construction workers was well below the rate in July 2011 (13.6%), 2010 (17.3%) and 2009 (18.2%), Simonson noted. He added that over those three years nearly 700,000 experienced workers have found jobs in other industries, returned to school, retired or otherwise left the workforce.

Association officials noted the industry was continuing to suffer from weak demand caused by slowing private sector growth and declining public sector investments in construction. “As long as the economy remains stagnant, construction employment levels will remain flat,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

Construction Employment - Welder

Construction Employment Up In 25 States; Arizona No. 3 On The List

Construction employment increased in just half the states plus the District of Columbia from June 2011 to June 2012, but declined in a slim majority of states in the past month, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Associated General Contractors of America.

California added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months (27,200, 5%), followed by Texas (24,400, 4.4%) and Arizona (11,200, 10.2%).

“The latest state data show again how fragile and fragmentary the construction recovery is,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Although private sector demand for structures has risen in most states, improvement in single-family homebuilding is spotty and public investment is shrinking.”

Simonson noted that 25 states and D.C. added construction jobs between June 2011 and June 2012, while construction employment fell in 25 states. D.C. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs for the year (17.8%, 2,100 jobs), followed by North Dakota (16.2%, 3,800 jobs) and Montana (14.6%, 3,300 jobs).

The economist said that among states that lost construction jobs during the past year, Alaska lost the highest percentage (-20.5%, -3,200 jobs), followed by Wisconsin (-11.1%, -10,200 jobs) and Mississippi (-9.7%, -4,700 jobs). Florida lost the most jobs (-24,600, -7.4%), followed by New York (-12,500, -4.1%), Wisconsin and Illinois (-9,900, -5.1%).

Less positively, only 18 states plus D.C. added construction jobs between May and June, while construction employment decreased in 27 states and held steady in five. The highest percentage gains for the month occurred in D.C. (7.8%, 1,000 jobs), followed by North Dakota (2.6%, 700 jobs) and Montana (2.4%, 600 jobs). Texas added the most jobs during the month (9,600, 1.7%), followed by California (8,100, 1.4%) and Ohio (3,500, 2%).

South Dakota had the steepest percentage decline among states that lost construction jobs for the month (-5.2%, -1,100 jobs), followed by Arkansas (-3.7%, -1,700 jobs) and Iowa (-3.4%, -2,300 jobs). The largest number of construction job losses in June occurred in Florida (-5,300, -1.7%), followed by Iowa and Massachusetts (-2,100, -2%).

Association officials warned that construction employment was likely to stagnate or shrink in more states if federal and state officials continue to cut investments in public infrastructure and buildings.

“Ongoing cuts to vital infrastructure, school and university investments are hurting the overall economy, our future competitiveness and causing hardship for too many construction workers,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Budget discipline should not come at the expense of slashing essential investments.”

Reviving the Construction Industry

Plan to Revive Construction Industry Unveiled

The Associated General Contractors of America released a new national plan today detailing measures to stimulate demand for construction. Officials said the plan was needed to reverse construction employment declines that have taken place in 317 out of 337 metro areas since January 2007, according to new data the association released today.

“Our goal is to rebuild a devastated construction market that has left millions jobless, littered cities with incomplete projects and sapped much needed revenue, commerce and customers out of our economy,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Considering the scope and impact of construction job losses, the last thing any of us can afford is a repeat of the past four years.”

The plan, called “Building a Stronger Future, A New Blueprint for Economic Growth,” outlines measures to help boost private sector demand for construction, help tackle a growing infrastructure maintenance backlog and reduce needless red tape and regulations. Sandherr said the association developed the plan to overcome the years-long construction downturn that has left over 2.2 million construction workers unemployed and the industry’s unemployment rate at 21.8 percent, more than twice the national average.

Sandherr released the plan and the new employment figures, during a visit to Phoenix,  which has lost more construction jobs – 91,400 – than any other metro area since the start of the construction downturn in January 2007, a 54 percent decline. Nationwide, 28 cities lost 50 percent or more of their construction jobs, including Boise, Idaho; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Medford, Ore.; and Merced, Calif., Sandherr noted.

The metro areas that lost the most construction jobs during the past four years, besides Phoenix, included Las Vegas (-61,900 jobs, -61 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-57,700 jobs, -51 percent); the Atlanta area (-57,700 jobs, -42 percent); and the Los Angeles area (-56,200 jobs, -37 percent).

Lake Havasu City-Kingman (-65 percent, -4,200 jobs) and Bend, Ore. (-65 percent, -5,200 jobs) lost the highest percentage of construction jobs of any metro area. They were followed by St. George, Utah (-62 percent, -5,200 jobs); Las Vegas; and Naples, Fla. (-61 percent, -13,700 jobs).

Only 14 metro areas added construction jobs during the past four years, while employment levels were unchanged in another six. The five metro areas with the largest construction employment gains were all in Texas: Beaumont-Port Arthur (3,400 jobs, 21 percent); Longview (3,100 jobs, 26 percent); Midland (2,100 jobs, 15 percent); El Paso (1,900 jobs, 14 percent); and Odessa (1,800 jobs, 17 percent).

Pascagoula, Miss., experienced the highest percentage increase in construction employment (47 percent, 1,600 jobs) during the past four years. Other metro areas adding a high percentage of construction jobs included Longview; Beaumont-Port Arthur; Lawton, Okla. (20 percent, 300 jobs); and Odessa.

“In too many metro areas, the construction industry is a mere shadow of what it was just four years ago,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, who prepared the new employment analysis. “This new data should make it pretty clear that the sector’s revival is anything but guaranteed.”

Sandherr said the recovery plan emphasizes boosting private sector demand, which once accounted for 76 percent of all construction activity, but now accounts for only 60 percent. It calls for approving pending trade agreements to boost demand for manufacturing and shipping facilities, repealing the alternative minimum tax and making permanent the tax cuts that were first put in place in 2001 and 2003.

The plan also identifies new tax credits to encourage retail and restaurant upgrades, improve the efficiency of commercial buildings and help contractors invest in new, more efficient construction equipment. And it urges Congress and the Administration to finally end the double taxation of U.S-based businesses that succeed in international markets.

Sandherr noted the plan includes measures to tackle infrastructure problems that cost American businesses an estimated $100 billion a year due to delays and lost productivity. It calls for significant reforms to federal surface, aviation and waterways programs. And it urges federal officials to refocus on efforts that are clearly in the national interest, streamline the years-long federal review process, and find new ways to leverage private sector dollars.

Sandherr added that the plan also includes comprehensive measures to reduce costly, time consuming and needless regulatory burdens. It calls on Congress to pass legislation limiting major new regulations, reform the approval process for new highway and transit projects and oppose well-meaning labor and Buy American mandates that do little to create new jobs and a lot to add costs and delay work.

The plan also highlights the need to repeal a costly new mandate set to begin next year that requires governments at all levels to withhold three percent of the cost of virtually all major construction projects from contractors. “For an industry where most firms are lucky to make three percent in profit on a project, this new mandate will either put a lot of people out of work or needlessly inflate the cost of public construction,” Sandherr cautioned.

Arizona leads nation in Construction Employment

Arizona Leads Way As Construction Employment Expands In 29 States

Construction employment expanded in 29 states between September and October with Arizona leading the way, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released today by the Labor Department.

The new figures continue a nearly year-long trend of ups and downs in construction employment as the industry performs stimulus-funded work yet grapples with broad market uncertainty.

“Considering that most states adding construction jobs in October had shed workers in September, it is safe to say that construction employment remains volatile,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Construction is no longer in free fall, but the industry remains fragile as improvements vary greatly by state and project type.”

Arizona (4.4 percent, 5,000 jobs) experienced the largest one-month seasonally adjusted percentage increase and Texas (2.3 percent, 8,800 jobs) the largest one-month total increase in construction employment between September and October.

Other states adding large numbers of construction jobs during October included Illinois (1.5 percent, 3,000 jobs); Washington (2.1 percent, 3,000 jobs); South Carolina (3.2 percent, 2,500 jobs); and Colorado (1.6 percent, 1,800 jobs).

Simonson noted 20 states plus the District of Columbia lost construction jobs during the past month, while construction employment remained unchanged in Rhode Island. Minnesota (-2.7 percent, -2,300 jobs) lost the highest percent of construction jobs for the month while Florida lost the most jobs (-2.4 percent, -8,600 jobs). Among other states losing construction jobs between September and October were Pennsylvania (-1.0 percent, -2,200 jobs); Maryland (-1.3 percent, -1,900 jobs); Georgia (-1.2 percent, -1,800 jobs); and Massachusetts (-1.4 percent, -1,500 jobs).

Eleven states and D.C. added construction jobs for the year, Simonson added. The largest year-over-year percentage increase was in Kansas, where construction employment rose 9.0 percent (5,100 jobs), followed by Oklahoma (8.1 percent, 5,400 jobs); Arkansas (5.1 percent, 2,600 jobs); D.C. (4.6 percent, 500 jobs); and West Virginia (3.3 percent, 1,100 jobs).

Among the 39 states that lost construction jobs over the past 12 months, Nevada experienced the largest percentage decline (-19.5 percent, -14,500) while California lost the most jobs (-45,700, -7.9 percent). Other states experiencing large declines for the year include Idaho (-15.2 percent, -5,000 jobs); Vermont (-13.4 percent, -1,800 jobs); Montana (-10.5 percent, -2,500 jobs); and Missouri (-10.3 percent, -11,900 jobs).

Association officials said that temporary stimulus funding has helped the industry, but that most firms were worried about business levels for next year. They added that private, state and local demand for construction remains weak, while long-term federal infrastructure programs and tax rates remain in limbo. “We won’t see sustained job growth until the private sector picks up and long-term federal plans are clear,” says Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s CEO.

Construction Declines in 31 States

Construction Employment Declines In 31 States

Construction employment declined in 31 states between August and September with fewer people working in that field compared to last year in 40 states, the Associated General Contractors of America reported in an analysis of state employment data released today by the Labor Department.

Construction employment is likely to continue to worsen amid uncertainty about federal spending and tax rates for next year, association officials noted.

Arizona lost 700 construction jobs during that period. Compared to the same period last year, Arizona has lost 4,400 construction jobs.

“Construction firms are caught between a difficult present and an uncertain future,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Looking ahead, nobody knows what will happen to the only thing keeping the current market from getting worse, federal spending, as long-term water, energy and transportation spending programs remain in limbo.”

Simonson noted that Rhode Island (-2.9 percent, -500 jobs) lost the highest percent of construction jobs for the month while California lost the most jobs (-2.5 percent, -13,300 jobs). Among other states losing construction jobs between August and September were Texas (-1.2 percent, -7,000 jobs), New York (-1.8 percent, 5,800 jobs), Ohio (-2.5 percent, -4,400 jobs), and Pennsylvania (-1.1 percent, -2,500 jobs).

Hawaii (4.9 percent, 1,400 jobs) and Minnesota (3.8 percent, 3,100 jobs) experienced the largest one-month percentage increase in construction employment between August and September. Besides those two states, another 13 and the District of Columbia added jobs, while construction employment was unchanged in four states. Other states with increases in construction employment included Florida (0.5 percent, 1,700 jobs), Georgia (1.0 percent, 1,500 jobs), Washington (0.8 percent, 1,100 jobs) and Illinois (0.4 percent, 700 jobs).

Simonson noted that nine states and D.C. added construction jobs for the year while employment in Alaska was unchanged. The largest year-over-year increase was in Oklahoma, where construction employment rose 9.8 percent (6,500 jobs), followed by Kansas (8.9 percent, 5,000 jobs), New Hampshire (8.0 percent, 1,800 jobs), the District of Columbia (4.5 percent, 500 jobs), and Arkansas (3.5 percent, 1,800 jobs).

Among the 40 states that lost construction jobs over the past twelve months, Nevada experienced the largest percentage decline (-19.3 percent, -14,200) in jobs while California lost the most jobs (-50,700, -8.8 percent). Other states experiencing large declines for the year include Vermont (-14.1 percent, -1,900 jobs), Idaho (-12.3 percent, -4,000), Colorado (-11.5 percent, -14,200 jobs), and Kentucky (-9.8 percent, -7,000 jobs).

Association officials cautioned that construction employment will continue to stagnate as firms, already coping with depressed private, state and local demand, contend with an uncertain federal marketplace. Adding to the confusion, officials said, was that tax rates for most small construction firms have also not been set for next year. “Adding uncertainty and confusion into an already bleak market is a good way to keep construction workers out of a job,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer.

Construction at an All Time Low

National Construction Employment Near 14-Year Low

The number of people working in construction is approaching a 14-year low now that the industry lost 21,000 jobs in September, while construction unemployment is at a September high of 17.2 percent, according to an analysis of federal employment figures released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

The construction industry continues to suffer from declining investments in construction and broad uncertainty about the future of many federal infrastructure programs and tax rates, association officials noted.

“It has taken less than four years to erase a decade’s worth of job gains as the industry suffers from declining private, state and local construction demand,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “No other sector of the economy has suffered as much for as long as construction.”

Simonson noted that the 5.6 million people working in construction today is barely higher than the 5.59 million people who were working in construction in August 1996. He added that construction employment continued to lag behind other sectors of the economy. For example, while total private employment rose by 593,000 during the past 12 months, the construction industry lost 210,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the industry’s unemployment rate is nearly double the unadjusted national rate of 9.2 percent.

Most of September’s construction job losses came from the nonresidential sector as demand for commercial facilities and infrastructure projects remains weak, Simonson noted. Residential construction lost 2,500 jobs last month while nonresidential construction lost 18,100 jobs. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors were the hardest hit, having lost 19,500 jobs in September, the economist added.

Association officials noted that construction spending figures released late last month show private, state and local construction spending continues to decline. And while federal spending has increased, most of those investments have come from temporary programs like the stimulus and military base realignment programs.

While these temporary federal programs have helped the industry, many contractors are reluctant to expand payrolls while long-term federal programs that fund highway, transit, water system and aviation related construction remain in limbo, association officials said. They added that most contractors don’t even know what their tax rates will be for next year.

“Construction firms aren’t going to start hiring again until they can predict how busy they’ll be,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Frankly it is hard for contractors to make any business decisions when they don’t know how much they’ll make or how much they’ll owe.”


Flagstaff lost the highest percentage of construction jobs

Flagstaff Tops The Nation In Percentage of Construction Jobs Lost

Flagstaff lost the highest percentage of construction jobs between July 2009 and July of this year, as 276 of 337 metro areas nationally saw declines, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

Flagstaff lost 700 construction jobs, a 32 percent dip from last year. The Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area lost the most construction jobs — 32,900, or 23 percent.

Statewide, Arizona lost 13,900 construction jobs (down 114,000 from 128,000), an 11 percent decrease. It was a decrease of 54 percent from the state’s peak in 2006, according to the AGCA.

The Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale area lost 8,600 construction jobs (down 86,600 from 95,200), a 9 percent loss; and Tucson lost 2,300 construction jobs (down 14,200 from 16,500), for a 14 percent dip. Yuma fared the best, experiencing just a 7 percent loss.

The employment figures, based on an analysis of federal employment data, demonstrate the widespread decline in demand for construction services that continues to outpace stimulus-funded work, association officials say.

“There is no doubt that we have seen an increase in stimulus activity this summer,” says Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Unfortunately, that increase in stimulus activity is largely being overshadowed by continuing declines in overall demand for construction that are likely to persist well into next year.”

Other areas experiencing large declines in construction employment are: Las Vegas (14,800 jobs, 24 percent); Houston (14,700 jobs, 8 percent); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale (10,700 jobs, 9 percent); and Seattle-Bellevue-Everett (10,400 jobs, 14 percent).

Simonson says that 31 metro areas actually added construction jobs over the past 12 months, while another 30 areas experienced no change in construction employment.

The construction economist said the impacts of the stimulus can be seen in the fact that many of the construction employment declines metro areas are experiencing are less severe than just a month ago. The year-over-year construction employment declines in cities such as Las Vegas, Houston and Seattle are less severe than the figures recorded in June, Simonson adds. However, he says that too few cities were adding construction jobs to have any widespread impact on construction employment.

“As much as we would hate to see how much worse the construction employment figures would be without the stimulus, the fact is our industry is continuing to suffer even as some areas of the economy have begun to expand,” says Stephen Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “And with regular, long-term infrastructure bills stalled in Congress, it looks like construction workers will have little opportunity to continue rebuilding our economy.”