Construction employment gains spread to more metropolitan areas between July 2012 and July 2013 than in previous months, but full recovery remained elusive as only a few areas have exceeded pre-recession employment records, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), Washington, D.C.
AGC officials said that despite the gains, construction employment remains below peak levels in most metro areas. “The good news is that 201 metro areas added construction jobs in the past year, the largest number with year-over-year gains since March 2012,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But construction employment is at an all-time July high in only 19 of those areas. At the other extreme, construction employment declined in 90 metros in the last 12 months, and 28 areas have lost at least half of the construction employees they once had.” Construction employment was stable in the past year in 48 metros, he added.
The Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas MSA added by far the largest number of construction jobs in the past year out of the 339 metros with construction employment data (13,000 jobs, 7%). Next were Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass. (8,400 jobs, 15%) and Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (8,400 jobs, 9%). The largest percentage gains since July 2012 occurred in Pascagoula, Miss. (44%, 1,800 jobs), followed by Eau Claire, Wis. (27%, 900 jobs); Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (26%, 1,100 jobs); and Fargo, N.D.-Minn. (23%, 1,900 jobs). Fargo exceeded its previous July peak (2008) by 17%, the most of any metro.
AGC said the largest job losses from July 2012 to July 2013 were in Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. (-6,000 jobs, -9%). Despite gains in the past year, Phoenix had the largest decline since its July 2006 peak (-86,500 jobs, -47%).