Construction employment dips in metro areas over past year

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

The largest job losses were in Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-6,500 jobs, -5 percent); followed by Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. (-6,100 jobs, -12 percent); Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. (-5,100 jobs, -8 percent); New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La. (-5,000 jobs, -16 percent) and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-N.C. (-4,400 jobs, -12 percent). Springfield, Mass.-Conn. (-28 percent, -3,000 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Anchorage, Alaska (-23 percent, -2,500 jobs); Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-17 percent, -3,600 jobs) and Jackson, Miss. (-16 percent, -1,800 jobs).

Bakersfield-Delano, Calif. added the highest percentage of new construction jobs (23 percent, 3,200 jobs) followed by Yuba City, Calif. (18 percent, 300 jobs); El Centro, Calif. (15 percent, 200 jobs) and Pascagoula, Miss. (15 percent, 700 jobs). Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (7,700 jobs, 7 percent) added the most jobs. Other areas adding a large number of jobs included Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (6,200 jobs, 11 percent); Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (5,600 jobs, 7 percent); Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind. (5,300 jobs, 12 percent) and Denver, Colo. (4,600 jobs, 7 percent).

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.

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