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AGC: Most metro areas adding construction jobs

By |  September 1, 2021

Logo: Associated General Contractors of America

Three-fourths of all metro areas added construction jobs between July 2020 and July 2021, according to an analysis of government data done by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

The association says that while many metro areas added jobs in the last year, overall construction employment still lags pre-pandemic levels in many areas.

“The rapid spread of the delta variant of coronavirus, along with soaring materials costs and multiple supply-chain difficulties, appears to be causing some project owners to delay starting construction,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “However, the virus flare-up threatens further job gains, particularly because construction workers have lower vaccination rates, and, thus, a higher risk of becoming ill than other occupations.”

In that 12-month window, 268 out of 358 metro areas increased construction employment. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington, had the most job growth (10,200 jobs, up 10 percent), followed by Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, California (9,100 jobs, up 13 percent), Pittsburgh (8,300 jobs, up 14 percent) and Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Illinois (7,700 jobs, up 6 percent).

Waterbury, Connecticut, led the way in percentage increase (800 jobs, up 29 percent), followed by Lawrence-Methuen Town-Salem, Massachusetts (900 jobs, up 26 percent), Hanford-Corcoran, California (200 jobs, up 22 percent), and Bloomington, Illinois (600 jobs, up 21 percent).

Construction employment decreased from July 2020 to July 2021 in 54 metro areas and held steady in 36.

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, lost the most jobs (7,000 jobs, down 3 percent), followed by New York City (6,300 jobs, down 4 percent), Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Florida (3,500 jobs, down 7 percent), Nassau County-Suffolk County, New York (2,400 jobs, down 3 percent), and Calvert-Charles-Prince George’s, Maryland (2,400 jobs, down 7 percent).

Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey (down 600 jobs), and Evansville, Indiana-Kentucky (down 1,100 jobs) had the largest percentage decline with an 11 percent loss. Two areas saw 9 percent decreases, with Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Victoria, Texas, losing 600 and 300 jobs, respectively.

AGC officials urge federal officials to take steps to address supply-chain issues and boost demand for several types of construction services. Specifically, the association is calling for the removal of tariffs on construction materials such as steel and aluminum. It is also urging the House of Representatives to quickly pass the $1 trillion infrastructure bill it still has to vote on.

“Washington officials have the ability to help offset soaring materials prices and boost flagging demand for commercial construction,” says Stephen Sandherr, AGC’s CEO. “The president should put an immediate end to tariffs that are needlessly inflating the cost of key materials and members of the House should rapidly approve the bipartisan infrastructure bill.”

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor for Pit & Quarry and Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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