Associated General Contractors of America

152 Metro Areas Add Construction Jobs Between March 2012 and 2013

Construction employment increased in 152 out of 339 metropolitan areas between March 2012 and March 2013, declined in 126 and was stagnant in 61, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials noted that many metro areas are adding jobs as construction spending increased 4.8 percent, or $38.9 billion, during the same time frame.

Public Spending Cuts Pose Risks to Construction Employment Increases

“Today’s figures on employment by metro area and construction spending nationally in March highlight the uneven and fragile recovery that construction is experiencing,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “The totals are up on a year-over-year basis and should continue to improve during the remainder of 2013, but not every sector or region will do well.”

Highest percentage of new construction jobs added:

  • Pascagoula, Miss. (47 percent, 1,700 jobs)
  • Fargo, N.D. (21 percent, 1,300 jobs)
  • Merced, Calif. (19 percent, 300 jobs)
  • Anchorage, Alaska (18 percent, 1,500 jobs)
  • Corpus Christi, Texas (18 percent, 4,000 jobs)
  • Salinas, Calif. (18 percent, 700 jobs)

Most construction jobs added:

  • Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas (12,000 jobs, 11 percent)
  • Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas (8,500 jobs, 5 percent)
  • Baltimore-Towson, Md. (7,700 jobs, 12 percent)
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. (7,500 jobs, 7 percent)

Largest construction job losses:

  • Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, Ill. (-2,700 jobs, -3 percent)
  • Northern Virginia (-2,700 jobs, -4 percent)
  • Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio-Ky.-Ind. (-2,600 jobs, -7 percent)
  • Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-2,300 jobs, -14 percent)
  • Raleigh-Cary, N.C. (-2,200 jobs, -8 percent)

Highest percentage of construction job losses:

  • Monroe, Mich. (-19 percent, -500 jobs)
  • Rockford, Ill. (-18 percent, -700 jobs)
  • Bellingham, Wash. (-15 percent, -1,000 jobs)
  • Pocatello, Idaho (-15 percent, -200 jobs)

Simonson noted that construction spending nationally in March was 4.8 percent higher than in March 2012 but down 1.7 percent from a month earlier, according to new Census Bureau data. Only private residential construction spending grew in both time periods, rising 0.4 percent for the month and 18 percent year-over-year. Private nonresidential spending retreated 1.5 percent from the February level but increased 2.8 percent from March 2012. Public construction activity dropped 4.1 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.

Investment in Nonresidential Structures Declined in Q1 2013

“For the rest of the year, the best performing categories are likely to be multifamily housing, power and energy, manufacturing, warehouses and private transportation while most public segments will continue to languish,” Simonson added. “For the year as a whole, I expect both residential and private nonresidential construction spending to top 2012 totals by 10 to 15 percent, while public construction will slip 2 to 5 percent.”

View construction employment figures by state and rank.

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