Date: July 28, 2009
Columbus, Indiana & Weirton, West Virginia-Steubenville, Ohio Had Largest Increases; Pascagoula, Mississippi & Reno-Sparks, Nevada Had Largest Decreases in Construction Employment
Construction employment declined in all but 19 communities nationwide this June as compared to June-2008, according to a new analysis of metropolitan-area employment data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The analysis, which ranks the 12-month construction employment change reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 352 metro areas, shows that few places in America have been spared the widespread downturn in construction employment over the past year.
"Construction workers remain, unfortunately, on the leading edge of job losses during this recession," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the contractors association. "While other sectors of the economy have been hit hard, construction employment has been devastated."
Simonson said that construction employment declined in 333 metropolitan areas since June-2008. The worst hit was Pascagoula, Mississippi and Reno-Sparks, Nevada, which both lost one out of every three construction jobs over the past year. Over 200 metropolitan areas suffered double-digit percentage declines in construction employment in the past 12 months, Simonson added.
The association's economist said only ten cities saw increases in construction employment since the previous June. Those cities include Columbus, Indiana where construction employment shot up over 31 percent from the previous June and the Weirton-Steubenville area along the West Virginia-Ohio border where construction employment climbed almost 17 percent. Nine other metro-areas saw no change in construction employment.
"This recession won't be over for most communities until we find a way to get construction workers across the country back on the job," said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association's chief executive officer. "That's why we need to act now to ensure the stimulus' sequel isn't idle cranes and empty work boots."
Sandherr urged Congress to pass a surface transportation bill that the association estimates would create or save over 616,000 jobs for each of its six years. He added that Washington also needed to act on long-delayed legislation to finance vital water, aviation and maritime infrastructure projects.