Construction employment expanded in 278 metro areas, declined in 36 and was stagnant in 44 between Feb. 2014 and Feb. 2015, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America, Arlington, Va. Association officials said the job gains come as private sector demand, particularly for multi-family housing, offset declining public sector investments, labor shortages and the challenges of a slowing global economy and declining oil prices.
"Construction firms continue to add new jobs at a pretty steady clip in most parts of the country," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, noting that the share of metro areas with construction employment gains was the highest since 2006. "The question is whether declining oil prices, global economic challenges, labor shortages and Washington gridlock will undermine future job gains in the sector."
Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas added the largest number of construction jobs in the past year (12,800 jobs, 11%), followed by Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. (11,600 jobs, 14%), Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. (10,100 jobs, 14%) and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (8,900 jobs, 5%). The largest percentage gains occurred in Wenatchee, Wash. (38%, 600 jobs), Lake Charles, La. (29%, 3,700 jobs), Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (27%, 4,700 jobs), Atlantic City-Hammonton, N.J. (25%, 1,000 jobs) and Bay City, Mich. (25%, 200 jobs).
Electrical Wholesaling data shows that electrical contractors generally account for 13% of all construction employment and that each electrical contractor employee accounts for $49,253 in spending on electrical products. Using this data, our estimates for the increase in electrical contractor employment in with the biggest YOY gains in Feb. 2015 were:
- Dallas-Plano-Irving, MSA: +1,664 employees (+$77 million in electrical contractor market potential)
- Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. MSA: +1,313 employees (+$60.7 million in electrical contractor market potential)
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land MSA: +1,157 employees ($+53.5 million in electrical contractor market potential).
The largest job losses from Feb. 2014 to Feb. 2015 were in New Orleans-Metairie, La. (-2,700 jobs, -9%), followed by Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. (-1,900 jobs, -18%), Cleveland-Elyria, Ohio (-1,700 jobs, -6%), and Gary, Ind. (-1,200 jobs, -8%). The largest%age decline for the past year was in Monroe, Mich. (-23%, -700 jobs) followed by Weirton-Steubenville, W.Va.-Ohio (-19%, -400 jobs), Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, Miss. and El Centro, Calif. (-17%, -500 jobs).