AGC: Construction jobs down in metro areas

By |  September 29, 2021


An analysis of government employment data done by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) shows that nearly one-third of U.S. metro areas lost construction jobs between August 2020 and August 2021.

Association officials noted that the job losses are occurring while the fate of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, that would boost demand for construction, remains uncertain in the House.

“While construction activity has rebounded from pandemic lows in many metros, the recovery is fragile, says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “Extreme production and delivery delays, along with continuing high materials costs, may lead to project cancellations and postponements that cut into job gains.”

Over that year period, construction employment declined in 65 metros and held steady in 37. New York saw the greatest job loss (8,600 jobs, down 6 percent), followed by Nassau County-Suffolk County, New York (5,100 jobs, down 6 percent); Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Florida (3,200 jobs, down 6 percent); Calvert-Charles-Prince George’s, Maryland (2,400 jobs, down 7 percent); and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas (2,300 jobs, down 1 percent).

Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky, saw the largest percentage decline in jobs (1,400 jobs, down 14 percent), followed by Tuscaloosa, Alabama (800 jobs, down 12 percent); Watertown-Fort Drum, New York (200 jobs, down 11 percent); Morristown, Tennessee (200 jobs, down 10 percent); Victoria, Texas (300 jobs, down 9 percent); and Gadsden, Alabama (100 jobs, down 9 percent).

In that same time, construction employment increased in 256 out of 358 metro areas. San Diego-Carlsbad, California, added the most jobs (8,900 jobs, up 11 percent), followed by Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, California (8,600 jobs, up 12 percent); Pittsburgh (7,200 jobs, up 12 percent); Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Massachusetts (6,300 jobs, up 9 percent) and St. Louis (6,300 jobs, up 9 percent).

Lawrence-Methuen Town-Salem, Massachusetts, had the highest percentage increase (900 jobs, up 26 percent), followed by Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas (3,600 jobs, up 23 percent); Bloomington, Illinois (500 jobs, up 17 percent) and Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona (500 jobs, up 16 percent).

AGC officials urged members of both parties in the House to vote for the infrastructure bill, saying its funding is needed to modernize the nation’s highways and transit systems. Prior to the House’s vote on the bill, which is scheduled for Sept. 30, officials noted that the industry would likely lose more construction jobs should it not pass.

“This is the kind of infrastructure bill that Democrats and Republicans have been promising to pass for years now,” says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “Failing to pass this measure will create new challenges for the economy.”

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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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