All but 12 communities nationwide saw declines in construction employment between September 2008 and 2009 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 more construction jobs were lost in Phoenix (35,100) than in any other city in America.
“It shouldn’t take an act of nature to put construction workers back on the job,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer, noting that many of the communities adding jobs were in the midst of rebuilding after recent natural disasters. “Construction workers would rather have a surge in new projects than a flood of layoffs.”
Sandherr noted that Reno-Sparks, Nev., had the largest percentage decline with a 35 percent drop in construction employment. Other cities with large percentage declines in construction employment included Kokomo, Ind. (31%), Redding, Calif. (29%), El Centro, Calif. (29%) and Wenatchee-East Wenatchee, Wash. (28%). Sandherr added that 38 communities saw construction employment declines of 20%or more during the past 12 months.
In comparison, only one community saw double-digit job gains. Columbus, Ind. again led the nation in construction job growth with a 15 percent increase. Seven other cities saw increases in construction employment, including Anderson, Ind. (6%), Bismarck, N.D. (3%), Tulsa, Okla. (3%) and Baton Rouge, La. (1%). Those eight cities combined added only 2,100 construction jobs over the past 12 months. Four other cities saw no change in construction employment.
Sandherr said that Congress and the Administration should act quickly on a number of key tax measures like extending the first-time home buyers credit and expanding the carryback tax provisions to cover net operating losses in 2009 and 2010 for all businesses. He added that Congress and the Administration also should act on the other measures outlined in the association’s construction industry recovery plan “Build Now for the Future: A Blueprint for Economic Recovery.”