Construction Employment Declines in Most Metropolitan
Areas Over the Past Year
June 4, 2009
Construction employment fell in 276 of the nation's largest 299
metro areas from April 2008 to April 2009, according to a new analysis
of government data conducted by the Associated General Contractors
of America's (AGC) chief economist Ken Simonson. "Job loss
figures like these are exactly what prompted Congress and the Administration
to craft a stimulus package designed to get Americans back to work
as quickly as possible," says Simonson. "Putting these
funds to good use as quickly as possible is the best way to get
Americans back to work and the economy back on track."
Among the communities seeing the largest declines in construction
employment were Tucson, Ariz., with a 29.2 percent decline, Redding,
Calif., with a 31.6 percent decline; Reno-Sparks, Nev., with a 29.1
percent decline; Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., with a 23.6 percent
decline; and Pascagoula, Miss., with a 38.8 percent decline. By
comparison, construction employment grew in only 19 metro areas,
led by an 8.0 percent gain in Odessa, Texas; a 7.3 percent in Baton
Rouge, La.; and a 5.7 percent in Decatur, Ill.
Simonson noted that the construction sector has seen the largest
decline in employment relative to the rest of the economy. For example,
overall construction unemployment was at 18.7 percent in April 2009
while the overall unemployment rate was 8.6 percent, not seasonally
However, Simonson cautioned that uncertainty over the application
of buy American provisions was potentially delaying the award of
some projects, driving up the cost of others and even forcing contractors
to rip out pipes already laid for at least one project in California.
"We need to make sure needless red tape and regulations don't
keep construction workers off the job," Simonson says. "There's
a real risk that buy American provisions, for example, could undermine
the very purpose of the stimulus
to get Americans working
HERE for a complete set of construction employment statistics
for the nation's metropolitan areas.
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