The construction sector in the nine states with 50% of construction employment was up 169,000 jobs from February to September 2012, following a lost of 137,000 jobs from September 2011 to January 2012.
That’s one of the key findings of “Construction Economics: Market Conditions in Construction” (November 2012), by Gilbane Building Co., Providence, R.I. The construction management giant found several others reasons to report that construction growth was looking up:
- Construction spending for nonresidential buildings should be up 4.9% in 2012 over 2011, to $297 billion. Residential should be up 12% YOY, putting total building construction ahead 8% for the year.
- Construction starts are increasing at a slow but upward rate, while backlog duration is also increasing. As a result, contractors are feeling somewhat more comfortable passing along material cost increases.
- Overall construction spending for 2013 should be up another 4.9%, with residential building dollars up 11%.
- Top sectors: healthcare and education, accounting for 40% of nonresidential building spending.
The Gilbane report drops the other shoe with several negative findings. For one, publicly funded work will likely be down in 2013 due to the paucity of bond issues passed in the November election period: about $30 billion, compared to more than $60 billion in 2008.
Moreover, spending on public construction has declined 5% YOY and was expected to finish 2012 12% below the 2009 peak. The Gilbane report forecasts a further drop in public construction in 2013, for the fourth consecutive year.
And while there has been some recent hiring, the construction workforce has lost 2.25 million, or 29%, in recent years. “It will be many years before the entire workforce grows back to its previous level,” the Gilbane report says.