While there were both gains and declines, depending on region, the good news, as reported by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, is construction employment has increased in 264 out of 358 metro areas between June 2016 and June 2017. 37 posted neither gains or declines and 37 out of the 358 had a decline.
Metro areas or metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) are designated by the Office of Management and Budget. MSAs generally cover one or more entire counties or county equivalents or New England City and Town Area (NECTA) in the six New England states. Also, some of the construction jobs include logging and mining jobs.
“Western metro areas, from southern California and Nevada to Oregon and Washington, logged many of the largest absolute and percentage increases in construction employment in the past year,” said Ken Simonson, the AGC’s chief economist. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. added the most construction jobs during the past year with 18,100 jobs, which is a 20 percent increase. The largest percentage gain occurred in the Bloomington, Ill. metro area with a 63-percent increase or 1,900 jobs.
“In contrast, the metros with the largest job losses were all in the middle or eastern portions of the country,” said Simonson. The largest number of job losses from June 2016 to June 2017 were in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, which posted 5,200 fewer jobs or a 2-percent decrease. The largest percentage decrease for the year was in Grand Forks, N.D.-Minn. with a 21-percent decrease or 1,000 jobs lost.
AGC states its officials have urged Congress and the White House to act quickly to fund and finance needed upgrades to the nation’s aging infrastructure. AGC believes new investments would help boost demand for construction across more areas and provide the improved infrastructure needed to support broader economic growth.
“Finding new ways to fund and finance needed infrastructure repairs will help ensure that construction job growth remains both widespread and robust,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC’s chief executive officer. “More important, modernizing our aging and overused public works will make our economy more efficient and help boost overall economic growth.”