Construction Employment Conditions Vary Widely by Metro between September 2015 and 2016

December 2016

Construction employment conditions varied widely by metro area between September 2015 and September 2016 as contractors in many areas struggled to find qualified workers while others contending with shrinking public budgets for infrastructure, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released Nov. 2 by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the new data show the need to enact career and technical education reforms along with infrastructure funding.
    
“Overall, the employment picture for construction workers is positive—the number of metro areas adding construction jobs in the past year was more than triple the number that lost jobs,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But contractors in many of the metros with stagnant or shrinking headcounts might have hired more workers if there were enough with construction skills. Meanwhile, public projects are dwindling in many areas because of sluggish federal and state spending.”
    
Construction employment increased in 226, or 63 percent, of 358 metro areas in the past year, held steady in 58 areas and declined in 74 areas, the economist noted. Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, Colo., added the most construction jobs during the past year (13,400 jobs, 14 percent), followed by Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, Fla. (12,500 jobs, 20 percent); Phoenix–Mesa–Scottsdale, Ariz. (9,600 jobs, 10 percent); Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. (9,200 jobs, 10 percent); and Sacramento–Roseville-Arden-Arcade, Calif. (8,500 jobs, 16 percent). The largest percentage gains occurred in Boise City, Idaho (24 percent, 4,500 jobs); El Centro, Calif. (21 percent, 600 jobs); Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford and Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade.
    
The largest job losses from September 2015 to September 2016 were in Los Angeles–Long Beach–Glendale, Calif. –2,600 jobs, -2 percent), followed by New Orleans–Metairie, La. (–2,300 jobs, –7 percent) and Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land, Texas (–1,900 jobs, –1 percent). The largest percentage declines for the past year were in Bloomington, Ill. (-13 percent, –400 jobs); Anniston–Oxford–Jacksonville, Ala. –11 percent, –100 jobs); and Decatur, Ill. (–11 percent, –400 jobs).