Construction employment increased in 149 out of 337 metropolitan areas between June 2010 and June 2011, declined in 141 and stayed level in 47, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that the local employment data posted slightly stronger gains largely because of growing private sector demand for construction.
"A lot of metro areas appear to be benefitting from growing demand from the private sector for new construction," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "Declining public sector demand is clearly taking a toll on just as many metro areas, however."
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, again added more construction jobs (5,600 jobs, 5 percent) than any other metro area during the past year while Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI, added the highest percentage (20 percent, 2,600 jobs). Other areas adding a large number of jobs included the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville area (5,500 jobs, 4 percent); Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI (4,300 jobs, 12 percent); the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area (3,600 jobs, 2 percent) and Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN (2,600 jobs, 7 percent).
The largest job losses were in the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV area (-7,000 jobs, -15 percent); followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA (-5,400 jobs, -5 percent); New York City (-5,000 jobs, -4 percent); Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA (-3,900 jobs, -6 percent) and Philadelphia (-3,700 jobs, -6 percent). Redding, CA (-17 percent, -500 jobs) lost the highest percentage. Other areas experiencing large percentage declines in construction employment included Bend, OR (-15 percent, -500 jobs) and Albuquerque, NM (-14 percent, -3,000 jobs).
Association officials said they were concerned that the construction industry would continue to suffer more than other sectors from new efforts to cut federal spending. They cited recent measures enacted, or proposed, by Congress that would significantly cut investments in highway, clean water, federal building and flood control construction programs. And they noted that Congress has already allowed $2.5 billion worth of airport construction projects to lapse over an unrelated policy dispute.
"Cutting construction budgets without addressing out of control entitlement spending is a lot like neglecting your leaky roof while you continue to dine out every night," said the association's chief executive officer Stephen E. Sandherr. "Congress may save some money in the short run, but fixing all that broken, neglected infrastructure is going to cost a lot more later than maintaining it now would."