Construction Employment Increased in 146 out of 337 Metropolitan Areas between August 2010 and August 2011

According to a new analysis of federal employment data released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), construction employment increased in 146 out of 337 metropolitan areas between August 2010 and August 2011, declined in 145, and stayed level in 46. Association officials noted that the local employment data remains relatively split as private sector demand increased and public sector activity declined more rapidly during the past year.

“The construction market is caught between increases in private sector demand and even larger decreases in public sector construction investments,” said Ken Simonson, the AGC’s chief economist, noting that private sector spending on construction has grown by 5.5% since July 2010 while public sector demand declined by 8.8% during the same time period. “Construction employment continues to be stuck in a pattern where there are just as many hot spots as there are slow spots.”

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas, added more construction jobs (10,400 jobs, 6%) than any other metro area during the past year while Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis., added the highest percentage (22%, 2,900 jobs).

The largest job losses were in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale area (-7,000 jobs, -7%); followed by Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (-5,500 jobs, -6%); Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. (-4,400, -10%); Philadelphia (-3,800 jobs, -6%); and New York City (-3,400 jobs, -3%). Redding, Calif. (-19%, -600 jobs) lost the highest percentage.

Association officials said the two most important steps Washington officials could take to boost construction employment are passing long-term infrastructure bills and reconsidering many of the costly regulatory obstacles that have been put in place. They noted that even as highway and transit legislation has languished, state and local officials are being forced to spend billions of limited transportation funds on butterfly bridges and bat-safe highway lighting.

View construction employment figures by state and rank.

Source: AGC