AGC: Construction jobs down in 20 percent of metro areas

By |  November 3, 2021


Nearly one-fifth of U.S. metro areas lost construction jobs between September 2020 and September 2021, according to an Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) analysis of federal data.

AGC officials noted that the job losses are occurring as the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) continues to await a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, and firms cope with shortages, delivery delays and construction materials price increases.

“Many metro areas are having a hard time getting back to construction employment levels from last fall that were already low because of the pandemic,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “The challenge is that the economic recovery for the construction industry is being undermined by Washington’s failure to boost infrastructure investments and continuing supply chain disfunction.”

Construction employment declined from a year earlier in 67 metros and held steady in 33.

Nassau County-Suffolk County, New York lost the most jobs (6,000 jobs, down 8 percent), followed by New York City (5,500 jobs, down 4 percent), New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana (3,100 jobs, down 12 percent); Calvert-Charles-Prince George’s, Maryland (3,100 jobs, down 9 percent) and Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, Maryland (2,400 jobs, down 3 percent).

The largest percentage declines were in Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky (1,800 jobs, down 18 percent), New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana (3,100 jobs, down 12 percent); Fairbanks, Alaska (300 jobs, down 10 percent); Knoxville, Tennessee (1,800 jobs, down 10 percent); Gadsden, Alabama (100 jobs, down 9 percent); Calvert-Charles-Prince George’s, Maryland; and Victoria, Texas (300 jobs, down 9 percent).

Construction employment increased in 258 out of 358 metro areas over the last 12 months.

Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, California, added the most construction jobs (9,000 jobs, up 13 percent), followed by Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington (7,800 jobs, up 8 percent), San Diego-Carlsbad, California (7,600 jobs, up 9 percent); Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Illinois (6,700 jobs, up 5 percent) and Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts (6,700 jobs, 9 percent).

Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas, had the highest percentage increase (3,300 jobs, up 20 percent), followed by Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona (600 jobs, up 19 percent); Waterbury, Connecticut (500 jobs, up 17 percent); Albuquerque, New Mexico (3,700 jobs, up 15 percent) and Fargo, North Dakota-Minnesota (1,400 jobs up 15 percent).

AGC officials continue to urge the House to quickly pass the IIJA and encouraged the Biden administration to explore ways to unclog shipping facilities that have more goods than drivers.

“Washington leaders have the ability to fix our supply chains now while also investing in their long-term efficiency,” says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “But nothing is going to get fixed with partisan talk and legislative and executive inaction.”

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About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or

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