Tag Archives: construction jobs

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Construction Employment Declines in 151 of 337 Metro Areas

 

Construction employment declined in 151 out of 337 metropolitan areas between November 2011 and November 2012, increased in 126 and was stagnant in 60, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials noted that metro areas in New York and New Jersey in particular experienced significant construction declines in the first full month after Hurricane Sandy.

“The uncertainty about 2013 federal tax and spending rates likely prompted firms in many parts of the country to hold back on hiring,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Construction workers in the New York area, meanwhile, suffered as existing projects were put on hold in the weeks following Hurricane Sandy.”

The largest job losses were in Nassau-Suffolk, New York (-6,900 jobs, -11%); followed by Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. (-5,200 jobs, -13%); Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-4,500 jobs, -4%) and Putnam-Rockland-Westchester, N.Y. (-4,300 jobs, -13%).

Springfield, Mass.-Conn. (-24%, -2,300 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Jackson, Miss. (-22%, -2,400 jobs); Columbus, Ind. (-19%, -300 jobs) and Lansing-East Lansing, Mich. (-18%, -1,100 jobs).

Pascagoula, Miss., added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (31%, 1,500 jobs) followed by Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, Mass.-N.H. (18%, 700 jobs); El Centro, Calif. (15%, 200 jobs) and Lafayette, La. (15%, 1,000 jobs). Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (15,300 jobs, 9%) added the most jobs.

Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (6,900 jobs, 7%); Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. (6,800 jobs, 13%); Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (6,300 jobs, 10%) and Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale (5,400 jobs, 6%).

Association officials said construction employment suffered in the New York area amid halts to existing construction projects in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. They noted that, in addition to the large losses in the Putnam-Rockland-Westchester and Nassau-Suffolk metro areas, Edison-New Brunswick, N.J. (-3,800 jobs, – 10%) lost more construction jobs than all but five other metro areas while Newark-Union, N.J. (-3,100 jobs, -9%) lost more jobs than all but eight other metro areas.

“With the first batch of reconstruction funds finally heading to the New York area, there should be a bit more opportunity for construction workers in those areas,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “It will likely take months, if not years, for the region to bounce back from the losses it experienced during the economic downturn and subsequent hurricane.”

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Construction Sector Adds 30,000 Jobs as Unemployment Rate Falls to 13.5%

 

Construction employers added 30,000 jobs in December as the industry’s unemployment rate hit 13.5%, according to an analysis of new federal data released by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials noted that the monthly increase was the largest in nearly two years, driven primarily by increases in private sector demand for construction.

“Resurgent demand for new housing construction and modest growth in private commercial construction are helping create some new construction jobs,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Now that the threat of the fiscal cliff has been – temporarily – relieved, construction employment should continue to slowly rise in 2013.”

Construction firms employed 5.564M people in December, up from 5.534M in November, Simonson noted, an increase of 0.5%. However, the sector’s overall employment in December was only 18,000, or 0.3%, higher than one year earlier when firms employed 5.546M workers.

The industry unemployment rate fell from 16% a year earlier, indicating that formerly unemployed construction workers are leaving the industry at a faster rate than they are being rehired.

Both residential and nonresidential construction added jobs in December, with residential construction outpacing nonresidential construction for the month. Residential construction added 18,100 jobs in December, with residential building contractors adding 5,800 employees and residential specialty contractors adding 12,300 new workers. Residential construction employment is now up by 29,800, or 1.5%, compared to 12 months ago.

Nonresidential contractors added 11,900 jobs (0.3%) in December, but are down by 12,400 jobs (-0.4%) compared to one year ago. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 5,600 jobs for the month, while nonresidential building contractors added another 7,000 jobs. However, heavy and civil engineering construction firms lost 700 jobs during the month, dragged down by continuing cutbacks in government infrastructure spending.

Association officials said the growth in construction employment was likely restrained by uncertainties about what federal tax and spending levels would be in 2013 as Washington officials worked to address the pending fiscal cliff. They noted that the stopgap measure passed early in January would do little to resolve broader fiscal problems that are making it increasingly difficult for the federal government to invest in vital infrastructure projects.

“Until Washington can address the broader challenge of out-of-control entitlement spending we are going to see more political standoffs like the fiscal cliff and fewer investments in infrastructure,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Congress and the administration need to focus their energy on addressing the fiscal imbalances that are the root cause of these recurring political crises.”

 

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Construction Sector Adds 17,000 Jobs As Unemployment Rate Drops to 11.4%

Construction employers added 17,000 jobs in October while the industry’s unemployment rate fell to 11.4%, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials noted that total construction employment levels have changed little during the past year while the declines in the industry’s unemployment rate are coming as more former workers leave the industry.

“Despite five consecutive months of construction employment gains, the overall employment picture is essentially unchanged from a year ago,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Construction employment appears stuck in a state of mild monthly flux with little change to the overall number of jobs.”

Construction firms employed 5.539 million people in October, up from 5.522 in September, Simonson noted – an increase of 0.3%. The sector’s overall employment in October is 20,000, or 0.4%, higher than one year earlier when firms employed 5.519 million workers.

However, Simonson noted that overall construction employment remains down by nearly 2.2 million compared to six years ago when the sector’s employment peaked at 7.7 million workers.

Both residential and nonresidential construction added jobs in October, with nonresidential construction outpacing residential construction for the month. Residential construction added 4,700 jobs in October, as residential building contractors lost 2,000 employees while residential specialty contractors added 6,700 new workers. Residential construction employment is now up by 12,300 compared to 12 months ago.

Nonresidential building contractors added 12,200 jobs in October, but are only up by 7,600 jobs compared to one year ago. Nonresidential specialty trade contractors added 10,100 jobs for the months while nonresidential building contractors added another 4,600 jobs. However, heavy and civil engineering construction firms lost 2,500 jobs during the month as public sector investments in construction continued to decline.

Association officials noted that the October data did not reflect impacts from the massive storm that damaged much of the eastern United States. They said reconstruction and repair work that was likely to take place in November and throughout the winter months would have minimal overall effect on construction employment.

“Even as some firms pick up work repairing damaged buildings and infrastructure, other firms will suffer as previously planned projects are cancelled or delayed,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Construction employment is not likely to change significantly because of Hurricane Sandy.”

 

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Construction Employment Declines in 28 States; 30 Add New Jobs

Construction employment declined in 28 states from September 2011 to September 2012 even as 30 states added jobs during the past month, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America of Labor Department data.

Association officials noted that the monthly gains, while welcome, were too small to offset the larger annual declines in many states.

“Even though a good number of states added jobs in September, most states have a smaller construction workforce than they did a year ago,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Between the fiscal cliff, unset tax rates and declining public sector investments, there are a lot of construction projects on hold as owners wait for a clearer picture of where the economy is heading.”

Among states losing construction jobs during the past year, Alaska lost the highest percentage (-16.1%, -2,400 jobs), followed by New Jersey (-10.2%, -13,400 jobs) and Nevada (-9.4%, -5,000 jobs).

New Jersey lost the most jobs, followed by New York (-12,500, -4.1%), Pennsylvania (-9,100 jobs, -4.1%), North Carolina (-8,400 jobs, -4.7%) and Illinois (-8,400 jobs, -4.4%).

Simonson noted that 22 states and the District of Columbia added construction jobs between September 2011 and September 2012.

The District of Columbia added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (12.5%, 1,500 jobs), followed by Nebraska (11.1%, 4,500 jobs) and North Dakota (11.0%, 2,800 jobs). Texas added the most new construction jobs over the past 12 months (32,800, 5.9%), followed by California (25,700, 4.7%) and Indiana (6,300, 5.0%).

New Jersey (-3.4%, -4,200 jobs) had the steepest percentage decline among the 19 states that lost construction jobs for the month, followed by the District of Columbia (-2.9%, -400 jobs) and Delaware (-2.8%, -500 jobs).

The largest number of construction job losses in September occurred in New York (-4,700 jobs, -1.6%), followed by New Jersey and Texas (-4,100 jobs, -0.7%). Construction employment levels were unchanged for the month in Arkansas and Nebraska.

The highest percentage construction employment gains for the month occurred in Missouri (4.5%, 4,300 jobs), followed by Iowa (3.5%, 2,200 jobs) and Alaska (3.3%, 400 jobs). Missouri added the most jobs during the month, followed by Florida (4,200 jobs, 1.3%) and Michigan (2,700 jobs, 2.3%).

Association officials said that construction employment was suffering because of Washington’s failure to act on a range of tax, spending and infrastructure programs. They added that the political uncertainty wasn’t just affecting the public sector market, with construction firms reporting many private sector projects appear to be on hold until Congress sets tax rates, addresses the fiscal cliff and acts on vital infrastructure measures.

“A lot of businesses are wary of investing in new construction activity when they don’t know where the economy is heading or even what tax rates they will have to pay next year,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Economies don’t thrive amid uncertainty and inaction.”

 

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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.”