Construction employment shrinks in 319 of the nation's 336 largest metro areas in July, continuing months-long slide
Construction workers in communities across the country continued to suffer extreme job losses this July according to a new analysis of metropolitan area employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. That analysis found construction employment declined in 319 of the nation’s largest communities while only 11 areas saw increases and six saw no change in construction employment between July 2008 and July 2009.
“These figures make it clear that construction workers in nearly every community nationwide are out of work and short on prospects," said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist. "It’s going to take a lot of new construction activity to turn things around for idle construction workers in cities and towns nationwide."
Simonson noted that each of the six hardest hit metropolitan areas in July lost at least 30 percent of their construction jobs. The worst hit, Reno-Sparks, NV, had a 33 percent decrease in construction employment. The Wenatchee, WA area (32 percent), Duluth, MN-WI (32 percent), Tucson, AZ (32 percent), Leominster-Fitchburg, MA area (30 percent) and Redding, CA (30 percent) were all close behind.
In comparison, only two communities saw double-digit job gains, Simonson said. Columbus, IN again led the nation in construction job growth with a 14 percent increase. Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH saw a 13 percent boost to its employment figures. The other four communities in the top six were Anderson, IN and Baton Rouge, LA with a 6 percent increase, Longview, WA with a 3 percent increase and Evansville, IN-KY with a 2 percent increase.
"It is difficult to understand why more communities aren’t moving to put their stimulus funds to work while they are experiencing these kinds of job losses," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Coping with the red tape required by the stimulus ought to be worth it to help put neighbors and friends back to work."
Sandherr said that new employment figures underscore the need for cities and towns to move more quickly to allocate their portion of the estimated $135 billion in stimulus-funded construction programs. He noted that while contractors report state agencies are moving quickly to distribute stimulus-transportation dollars, many municipalities are moving slowly to distribute their stimulus construction funds.
To view the data by state: http://www.agc.org/galleries/news/Metro%20empl%200709.pdf
To view the data by percent change: http://www.agc.org/galleries/news/Metro%20empl%200709%20Rank.pdf