Construction Employment Falls or Stagnates in One-Third of Metro Areas, Year-Over-Year

Words: Dan Kamys

29 November 2016 — According to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employment declined or was stagnant in one-third of metro areas between October 2015 and October 2016 amid diminishing public-sector investments in infrastructure and other civil works. Association officials said a new infrastructure proposal being crafted by the incoming Trump administration could, if structured properly, help add more construction jobs in many metro areas.

Construction employment decreased in 73 out of 358 metro areas and was stagnant in 62 areas during the past year. The largest job losses were in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (-9,700 jobs, -4%), followed by Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md., Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. and Little Rock, Ark. The largest percentage declines for the past year were in Decatur, Ill. (-16%, -600 jobs); Cheyenne, Wyo. and Bloomington, Ill.

Construction employment increased in 223 metro areas between October 2015 and October 2016. The largest job gains occurred in Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (10,800 jobs, 11%) and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla., followed by Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. and Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. The largest percentage gains were in Boise, Idaho (21%, 4,000 jobs) and El Centro, Calif. (21%, 600 jobs), followed by Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford and Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev.

Association officials said a new infrastructure investment program under consideration by President-elect Trump that could invest up to $1 trillion has the potential to boost construction employment in many parts of the country. Moreover, a new infrastructure program will create tens of thousands of manufacturing, mining and service-sector jobs as equipment makers, aggregate firms and construction suppliers book higher orders.

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