Construction employment expanded in 194 metro areas, declined in 88 and was stagnant in 57 between August 2012 and August 2013, according to an analysis of federal employment data by the Associated General Contractors of America.
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year (8,900 jobs, 8 percent); followed by Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. (8,700 jobs, 16 percent); and Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown (8,200 jobs, 5 percent). The largest percentage gain occurred in Pascagoula, Miss. (36 percent, 1,500 jobs).
The largest job losses from August 2012 to August 2013 were in Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif. (down 4,900 jobs or 12 percent); followed by Gary, Ind. (down 4,100 jobs or 18 percent); and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (down 3,400 jobs or 5 percent).
Fargo, N.D.-Minn. experienced the largest percentage increase among the 19 cities that hit a new August construction employment high from the prior 2008 peak (22 percent higher). Corpus Christi, Texas added the most jobs since reaching its prior August peak in 2012 (3,600 jobs). Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale experienced the largest drop in total construction employment compared to its prior, August 2006, peak (down 86,800 jobs) while Lake Havasu City-Kingman, Ariz. experienced the largest percentage decline compared to its August 2005 peak (down 74 percent).
Association officials said construction employment in many areas was getting a boost from growing private sector demand for new residential and energy facilities. They added, however, that declining investments in infrastructure and other public projects was restraining growth, and in some areas, contributing to declining sector employment.
“It has been a tough decade for much of the construction industry, considering that many areas experienced peak employment levels in the middle of the last decade,” said Stephen Sandherr, the association’s CEO. “It will take a lot more growth before significantly more metro areas get back to peak employment levels in construction.”