Barely One-third Of Metros Add Const. Jobs In Past Year

Jan. 5, 2021

Only 34 percent of the nation’s metro areas—just over one-third—added construction jobs from November 2019 to November 2020, according to an analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America. Large numbers of contractors are having to lay off workers once they complete projects begun before the pandemic because private owners and public agencies are hesitant to commit to new construction.

“Canceled and postponed projects appear to be more common than new starts for far too many contractors,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “Our association’s 2021 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook Survey found three times more contractors have experienced postponements and cancellations than new or expanded projects.”

Construction employment fell in 203, or 57 percent, of 358 metro areas between November 2019 and November 2020. Construction employment was stagnant in 33 additional metro areas, while only 122 metro areas—34 percent—added construction jobs during the past year.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas lost the most construction jobs over that span  (-22,500 jobs, -9 percent), followed by New York City (-16,700 jobs, -11 percent); Midland, Texas (-9,800 jobs, -25 percent).

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. added the most construction jobs over the year (4,700 jobs, 3 percent), followed by Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Md. (4,500 jobs, 5 percent); Boise, Idaho (4,300 jobs, 16 percent).

Association officials said many metro areas were likely to lose more construction jobs amid declining demand and continued project cancellations and delays.