Construction Employment Increases in 194 Metro Areas

September 27, 2013

Between August 2012 and August 2013, construction employment increased in 194 metro areas, declined in 88 and was stagnant in 57, according to analysis of federal employment data from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Officials added that despite the widespread gains, construction employment reached peak levels for August in only 19 of 339 metro areas.

"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, AGC’s CEO. "More troubling, it will take a lot more growth before significantly more metro areas get back to peak employment levels in construction."

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); Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown (8,200 jobs, 5 percent) and Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. (8,100 jobs, 9 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in Pascagoula, Miss. (36 percent, 1,500 jobs); Eau Claire, Wis. (30 percent, 1,000 jobs); Fargo, N.D.-Minn. (25 percent, 2,100 jobs) and Lake Charles, La. (22 percent, 2,100 jobs).

The largest job losses from August 2012 to August 2013 were in Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif. (-4,900 jobs, -12 percent); followed by Gary, Ind. (-4,100 jobs, -18 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-3,400 jobs, -5 percent) and Northern Virginia (-3,300 jobs, -5 percent). The largest percentage decline for the past year was in Gary, Ind., Rockford, Ill. (-17 percent, -800 jobs); Modesto, Calif. (-14 percent, -1,000 jobs); Shreveport-Bossier City, La. (-13 percent, -1,100 jobs) and South Bend-Mishawaka, Ind.-Mich. (-13 percent, -600 jobs).

AGC 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.

"Instead of feast or famine, conditions right now are more akin to moderate snacking or famine depending on the type of work firms perform," Sandherr said.