Report: Construction employment slipping downward

By |  December 2, 2020


Construction employment dropped in 58 percent (209 of 358) of metro areas between October 2019 and October of this year, according to an analysis of government data by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

Just 30 percent of metro areas added construction jobs during the year-over-year period while employment remained stagnant in 40 other metro areas.

“The pandemic has devastated the finances for businesses, institutions, and state and local governments, leading to widespread postponements and cancellations of construction projects,” says Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “As contractors use up the funds from Paycheck Protection Program loans, even more job losses are inevitable unless the federal government provides an immediate economic boost.”

According to AGC, Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, saw the most significant drop in construction employment (19,800 jobs, 8 percent) during the period, followed by New York City (17,300, 11 percent); Montgomery-Bucks-Chester Counties, Pennsylvania, (12,100 jobs, 21 percent) and Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota (10,400 jobs, 11 percent).

Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Massachusetts, lost the highest percentage (43 percent, 2,500 jobs) of construction jobs during the period. Bloomsburg-Berwick, Pennsylvania, (36 percent, 500 jobs); Altoona, Pennsylvania (32 percent, 1,000 jobs); Johnstown, Pennsylvania (30 percent, 800 jobs); and East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania (30 percent, 600 jobs) also saw significant job losses over the year.

More job data

On the positive side, Dallas-Plano-Irving, Texas, added the most construction jobs (7,100 jobs, 5 percent), followed by Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Washington, (4,700 jobs, 4 percent); Kansas City, Missouri (3,700 jobs, 12 percent); and Boise, Idaho (3,500 jobs, 13 percent).

By percentage, Walla Walla, Washington, saw the largest decrease in employment (25 percent, 300 jobs), followed by Lewiston, Idaho-Washington, (18 percent, 300 jobs); Oshkosh-Neenah, Wisconsin, (16 percent, 900 jobs); Springfield, Missouri (15 percent, 1,400 jobs); andĀ Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, (15 percent, 500 jobs).

AGC officials continues to urge Congress to pass new deferral coronavirus relief measures, which the association says is the best way to curtail future construction job losses.

“Construction employment is likely to continue falling in many parts of the country unless Congress quickly passes new coronavirus relief measures,” says Stephen Sandherr, CEO at AGC. “Boosting infrastructure projects, preserving the benefits of the Paycheck Protection Program and protecting businesses from predatory attorneys will help stabilize the economy and demand for construction.”

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