Construction employment expanded in 211 metro areas, declined in 67 and was stagnant in 61 between November 2012 and November 2013, according to a new analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Stephen Sandherr, the association’s CEO, said it will take many more months of strong economic growth and new investments in public infrastructure before many places experience construction employment levels close to their prior peaks.
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA, added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year (10,500 jobs, 12 percent), followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA, (9,100 jobs, 8 percent), Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA, (8,200 jobs, 11 percent) and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL, (6,400 jobs, 12 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in Steubenville-Weirton, OH-WV, (29 percent, 500 jobs), Eau Claire, WI, (27 percent, 800 jobs), Fargo, ND, (24 percent, 1,900 jobs) and Pascagoula, MI (24 percent, 1,100 jobs).
The largest job losses from November 2012 to November 2013 were in Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY, (down 4,000 jobs or 10 percent); followed by Raleigh-Cary, NC, (down 3,100 jobs or 10 percent), Baton Rouge, LA, (down 2,800 jobs or 6 percent) and Gary, IN, (down 2,300 jobs or 11 percent). The largest percentage declines for the past year were in Modesto, CA, (down 24 percent or 1,500 jobs), Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ, (down 14 percent or 300 jobs), Anniston-Oxford, AL, (down 11 percent or 100 jobs), Gary, IN, and Mobile, AL (down 11 percent or 1,300 jobs).
Fargo, ND-MN, experienced the largest percentage increase (24 percent) among the 19 cities that hit a new November construction employment high. Corpus Christi, TX, added the most jobs since reaching its prior November peak in 2012 (3,800 jobs). Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale experienced the largest drop in total construction employment compared to its prior, November 2006, peak (down 82,000 jobs) while Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ, experienced the largest percentage decline compared to its November 2005 peak (down 76 percent).
Association officials said that the fact Congress was able to reach a budget deal late in 2013 was a sign that elected officials can work together to protect economic growth. The challenge now is finding a way to finance needed investments in aging roads, bridges, clean water systems and other infrastructure systems, they said.